Sunday, September 22, 2013

Awareness Walk for GP 2013 Follow Up

Each and every day the week leading to Saturday, September 8th, I checked the weather forecast.  "Please, please let there be sun.  It can rain everyday but not Saturday, please not Saturday!"
Come Friday evening and still a chance of showers.  We had a large tent ready to use as a cover just in case and packed everything up ahead of time  (decorations, t-shirts, printed information to share, auction prizes, Orgain, ginger chews and Macrobars for refreshments, etc) in bins to keep them dry.

I was so excited and nervous that I could hardly sleep and jumped out of bed at the sound of the morning alarm.  Peeking out the window, the dark clouds overhead were covering the sky.  Well, whatever happens, happens and we will make the best of it.  By 9 a.m. the car was packed, including 2 very excited dogs jumping over each other in the back.  Trevor and I arrived to find a few of the volunteers already there ready to go.  The street was filled with farmers market vendors setting up, morning bike riders, and walkers chatting over coffee.  When the market opened at 10, most of the decorations (provided by a very creative Sarah Fredlund, new GP friend in town!) were up and display tables ready to go.

Some of the first to arrive were a few lovely ladies coming from surrounding areas, Lori, Jennifer, and Mechele, not to mention friends and family there to support us.  As you can see from the display table, Sarah generously took time to make tags for all of those who wanted to be here but couldn't make the trip, either due being too sick or too far.  I've received a number of messages to how much this meant to them and will continue this tradition each year forward!

As the market filled up, so did the crowds around the booth, curious about what exactly gastroparesis means, pitching in funds for donations, t-shirts and signing up for the auction prizes.  Lori's heating pads went quickly and the A-wear-ness shirts and jewelry were a hit.  And to top it off, the clouds cleared to a reveal blue skies and bright, warm sunshine!

Noon came quickly and those who were able to walk gathered and started down the trail.  Bellingham is an amazing town when it comes to the trail system, they pretty much connect the entire city.  The walk winds through tree covered paths along the bay and opens up, across the railroad tracks about 1.5 miles down, to a green park and open sea overlooking the San Juan islands beyond.   Perfect place to stretch, rest and take some group pictures.
Some headed back the same way we came and I hopped in the car with checkpoint supplies to ride back.  The adrenaline and movement of the day had me worn out.  I met everyone back at the booth and thanked those who had stayed to watch over and continue raising money and awareness while we marched.  Closing time came quickly and I was feeling quite overwhelmed with gratitude to have the opportunity to meet and educate so many in the community.  As I rested, friends cleaned and packed up all of the belongings.  What a success the day turned out to be!

There are still orders coming in for the t-shirts and necklaces but as of this week we have raised approx. $2,100!  Last year it was over $3,000 so a little short but I am excited because there are close to 100 awareness t-shirts from this year (close to 200 including last years) being worn all over the country, spreading the word about this walk and opening conversations to what it is all about.
To view all of the pictures from the walk you can click on this link to the Flickr Photo Album.

A HUGE thanks to....
Our talented friend Bryan Malley, who created this fun and funky design as well as all the artwork for T's, fliers and posters.  Also to Amjay for donating the printing of all 100 t-shirts.

Our Sponsors this year: ThriveRx, Hoagland Pharmacy, Blendtec, Orgain and CarrDorsch Family Dental.

Orgain and GoMacro for supplying protein rich and GP friendly refreshments to support the volunteer team and share with walkers and community.

The auction items from Blendtec (2 fancy blenders), RoibaGear riding helmets, Trader Joe's gift bag, CB Nuts peanut butter jars, and Starbucks package.

Lori for your comforting heating pads and Sarah for the jewelry, display work, and helping me tidy up the A-wear-ness packages with pretty green ribbon ;)

Our AMAZING set of friends who volunteered there time to planning and making this event happen both years: Stephanie, Lindsey, Alyssa, Sue and Angi, love you girls!

Trevor, Bryan, and Randy for the timeless photos and awesome manpower.

Jill Godsey from the Digestive Health Alliance for helping to guide us along with the planning.  And of course the DHA for providing a non-profit way to raise money for future research in hopes to finding a cure for Gastroparesis.

AND, last but definitely not least, to everyone who supported the event through donations, support and cheering us on!!!

1 comment:

  1. Thank YOU, Stephanie for putting together this walk again and for all the comfort and awareness you bring to all of us as we travel this Journey of GP and Healing ourselves of it!