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Keep up the momentum!

Written by on August 3, 2011 at 1:32 pm

My team and I are going to experience our third Challenge Walk coming this September. How do you keep the momentum with training and fundraising? Focus on the prize: a cure for MS. When you feel like you'll never reach your goal or you just can't walk that next mile, picture the faces of MS and you will!

Training in the hot temperatures and the humidity of the summer can be difficult. Cool down before and after training, either in a cool shower, a pool, or drinking cold water can help keep a walker safe! Walk with your friends or take your kids along on the training. My son likes to ride his bike while we are walking. Look for local bike or walking trails to have a walking route without the worry of motorized vehicles. Also, some trails are mile marked for ease in training your scheduled miles.

During my first Challenge Walk, on Day 1 when I was feeling the walk and not finding the inspiration within myself, my husband handed me a photo of our son, which drove me to dig deeper and continue on my journey that day. Find that inspiration you need whether within yourself or through someone else. I wear the Join the Movement bracelet everyday as a visual reminder of the obstacles of MS. Someone once asked me why I don't take it off. My response was simple: 'Because I can't take off my MS.

For the first-time walkers out there, you will see so much inspiration on the walk that you will leave a little bit of a different person. In the meantime, thank you to all the participants for everything you are doing for those of us living with MS everyday. As you embark on your journey to the 2011 MS Challenge Walk, stay safe, hydrated, and inspired — you can do this!

Wendy, the captain of Team WWW (Walk With Wendy), was diagnosed with MS in 2006.  Although she cut down on her work hours during the past year, she still loves her job as a teacher.  Wendy lives in Attleboro, MA, with her supportive husband and 9-year-old son, who provides inspiration for her daily!

One mile at a time

Written by on September 3, 2010 at 10:45 am

As the Challenge Walk quickly approaches, many of us walkers have heard this from family, friends, co-workers, and more: "WOW! Fifty kilometers?! That is a LOT!"

It sure is — but this event is much more than the miles that will be walked!!

Last year, I was a rookie and didn't realize everything I was going to experience at the Challenge Walk. The months of training, fundraising, and build up did not prepare me for the true essence of this event. To see all those walkers and crew focusing on one goal is quite a moving experience! There is a sense of camaraderie and a common bond at the Challenge Walk that you just won't find anywhere else.

Perseverance PathHow do we walk all that way? One step, one mile, and one rest stop at a time.

There will be times that you'll have to push yourself during the two days, but just when you think you can't take another step, someone walking near you, riding on a bike, or at a rest stop will say something that keeps you going to the next mile.

So get those last-minute training sessions in, pack your bag, submit last minute donations, and get ready for an inspirational two-day challenge!

Wendy, the captain of Team WWW (Walk With Wendy), was diagnosed with MS in 2006.  Although she cut down on her work hours during the past year, she still loves her job as a teacher.  Wendy lives in Attleboro, MA, with her supportive husband and 9-year-old son, who provides inspiration for her daily!

Get the kids involved!

Written by on July 12, 2010 at 4:00 pm

This is the second year that my team and I participate in the Challenge Walk. My 8-year-old son, William, is too young to participate in the Challenge Walk but wants to help in any way he can. He loves to help us put the mailings together — his job is the stamps and closing the envelopes! He also helps with raffle item solicitations and many other jobs at the fundraisers we hold.

This past spring, William signed up to do one of the one-day walks as a walker. My husband and I felt that this was his endeavor, so we let him take the lead on what he wanted to do for his fundraising. Since he watches us put on fundraisers to raise money for the Challenge Walk, I don't think he completely understands that we also ask people for donations.

To raise money for his walk, William wanted to sell something. We took a trip to our local craft shop and purchased a large box of beads and some nylon thread so he could make bracelets. He made all kinds of wonderful variations, being careful that each one was different. The bracelets were made in two sizes to fit kids through adults. We bagged each one in a snack-size bag with a label stating what the money was for and that they were hand crafted by William himself — then off he went!

William first hit up the neighborhood, then the family (aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents are always interested in something made by a child!). On that Sunday morning, he brought his merchandise to church; between coffee hour and the parking lot, he sold out! I don't think one person he approached said no, though of course, he only asked the people he knew. He also brought them to school and sold a few to his teacher.

The bracelets were sold for just a dollar, but many people gave more. Though this task's main purpose was to raise money for the walk, I think it taught all involved a good lesson. William put his heart into those bracelets, and he was as proud as could be each time one was purchased… although probably not as proud as his mom!

So, get the kids involved in any small way possible. Kids love to help and want to do something but may not ask. As William says which we ironed it onto his t-shirt, "I help MS!" He certainly does help in more ways than he knows!

Wendy, the captain of Team WWW (Walk With Wendy), was diagnosed with MS in 2006.  Although she cut down on her work hours during the past year, she still loves her job as a teacher.  Wendy lives in Attleboro, MA, with her supportive husband and 9-year-old son, who provides inspiration for her daily!

Spreading the joy and making connections!

Written by on July 2, 2010 at 8:30 am

Raising money for the Challenge Walk can be a difficult undertaking. Luckily, I have a great team that supports my efforts! There have been a few things that I have discovered after committing to this walk for a second time:

First, I spend a lot more time talking with my teammates due to planning and such, which to me is a bonus in all of this. Would we be talking this much if not for a common thread? Our lives, like everyone's, are busy ones, and sometimes we don't take the time to talk like we should.

Second, I've met people that I wouldn't have had a chance to meet otherwise. I met a few people with MS through my church after publicizing our fundraiser in the church bulletin. One woman had done the MS Challenge Walk for the first few years but couldn't now. She had some wonderful words of wisdom for me — as well as a donation!

Team WWW fun-draiser

Team WWW knows what to do with too much food!

Third, due to an overabundance of donated food items for our recent fundraiser, I connected with a local soup kitchen and gave them all our extra food. We had enough salad to feed 200 people left over! It was a great feeling, spreading this joy of food. We were not expecting particular donations, and when they came at the last minute we were not turning them away! The interesting part is the man who I contacted, randomly, knew about MS because his wife was an MS clinic nurse until she retired. He was just another twist of fate spun by this event which inspires me in the daily challenges of MS!

Who knows what other joys or connections I will make over the next few months or even during the walk itself? I look forward to it all!

Wendy, the captain of Team WWW (Walk With Wendy), was diagnosed with MS in 2006.  Although she cut down on her work hours during the past year, she still loves her job as a teacher.  Wendy lives in Attleboro, MA, with her supportive husband and 9-year-old son, who provides inspiration for her daily!

You just never know…

Written by on June 7, 2010 at 10:32 am

Fundraising is always a challenge to everyone. I'm noticing that last year, since it was my first year asking people, the donations came in pretty quickly. This year, well, maybe the economy has something to do with it, as it seems to be going slower. Asking people for money isn't always easy but, I've learned that you never know until you ask! People do surprise you!

My team and I put on a large fundraiser last year that went well, and we are hoping this year also goes well. How do I get the donations, money, or raffle items for these events? Just ask! Make copies of your letters, flyers, tax information, and whatever else you'll need, and get out there! I keep event flyers in my car and in my purse, because you never know when you might need them. When going to a party, dinner, or shopping, you might ask the business there for help — or you just might run into someone that you haven't seen in a while and invite them to your event.

As for personal donations: reminders are essential! I know a lot of people send out donations via email, but I've found that some people need that hardcopy, so send them out regular old snail mail. Be sure to include a stamp — it will come back to you faster. For those who you send via email, send a gentle reminder; some people just really do forget.

Good luck to all who are fundraising, and thank you for all you do!

Wendy, the captain of Team WWW (Walk With Wendy), was diagnosed with MS in 2006.  Although she cut down on her work hours during the past year, she still loves her job as a teacher.  Wendy lives in Attleboro, MA, with her supportive husband and 9-year-old son, who provides inspiration for her daily!