In April, a committee of five people from Michigan connected by phone to discuss possibilities for a Walk-Run-N-Roll event.
On October 5, over two hundred participants merged from across the state on the campus of Harderwyk Ministries for a Saturday morning like none had experienced before. Some drove from over three hours to the event. All came willing and ready to meet others and share one common purpose. To increase funding for research and raise awareness about rare neuro-immune diseases like Transverse Myelitis and Neuromyelitis Optica and the lives’ it affects was the centerpiece of the event. Over $31,000 was raised – we doubled our goal!
We heard from Dr. Allen DeSena from the University of Texas Southwestern, Sandy Siegel, the President and Founder of the TMA, and Chitra Krishnan, the Executive Director. They shared with us the current research, the history of the TMA, how awareness is growing, as well as future plans for increasing research and global awareness.
And education walked among all present.
We met one another and shared stories of struggles, courage, and hope before taking off on the paved bike path. Each participant could choose to either walk, run, or roll the 5K, the one-mile, or the individualized route on campus.
We met volunteers on the route who directed and encouraged us on. Food, drink, a silent auction, family lawn games, and music from the DJ added to the family fair-like atmosphere. All the while donations continued to be made.
Committee members Rebecca Whitney, Darlene Caterina Goodrich and Vickie Boersema shared their personal stories, representing the breadth of experiences of those affected by Transverse Myelitis.
And support ran loud and clear.
Those affected with Transverse Myelitis, Neuromyelitis Optica, Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis wore blue ribbons made for the event. Those who care for those affected with Transverse Myelitis were acknowledged and thanked. The ground was level as connections were made, hugs and stories shared, and the heart beat for those with Transverse Myelitis felt and heard.
And respect for all rolled through the crowd.
Thank you to everyone for coming and showing your support.
~ Karen Gorter