Sunday was the long-awaited New York City Arthritis Walk! I first wrote about it in my January post: "Walking for Arthritis & For Myself." It was my first 5K (3.1 miles) - a distance that would have been truly impossible for me just a few months ago. With support from my incredible family and friends, I'm proud to report that I completed all of it! Although it was raining, we had a blast!
Our team, "The NYC Sick Chick Club", came in 2nd place for fundraising and also won the T-shirt design contest (thanks to the beautiful designer, Ali Yuhas). I'm sending a tremendous thank you to everyone who helped us raise money for the Arthritis Foundation. Your support means more than you know and this money will go toward fighting a disease that effects nearly 46 million Americans. And now I'm proud to announce the GRAND TOTAL...
My personal total: $1, 515.0
Team total: $7, 845.00
In the past year, I've been impacted every day by arthritis. I've placed my life in the hands of medical professionals and experienced an entirely new level of pain. I've felt scared and, at times, I've even been hopeless. I've tried more medications than I care to remember and coped with a wide range of side effects. I've had countless medical appointments and received IV infusions every few weeks. I've cried, I've prayed, and I've learned to ask for help. I was forced to extend my masters program by a year. But perhaps worst of all, I've been completely unable to plan my days and missed out on time with my friends and family.
But I've finally found a medication that has changed my life. I can once again breathe deeply and walk freely. I have control over my days and can plan for my future. For all of these reasons and more, this walk was exceptionally important to me. I walked for the simple reason that I could. Sunday felt like a new beginning; as if I was putting the last year behind me with each step. I was walking for myself, for my readers, and for every "arthritis warrior" out there.
On the morning of the walk, John and I woke up to pouring rain. I was anxious and disappointed because - as anyone living with arthritis can tell you - rain can be like kryptonite. I worried about how it may impact my ability to walk and felt guilty that people were travelling from far and wide in bad weather. Everyone insisted on coming anyway...rain or shine.
The walk started at 10am in Battery Park, a beautiful area at the southern tip of Manhattan. When John and I arrived, we found my friend Virginia who came all the way from Boston to walk with me...something I will never forget. Soon we spotted my friend Becky running toward us with a big smile and a camera in hand. I have her to thank for all of these awesome photos! Our team raised enough money to earn our own table at the walk (fancy huh?), so Jodi and the rest of my teammates were easy to find. We then met up with my dad, my brother and my sister-in-law Erica. My mom and aunt were sad to have missed it, but Sunday was also the annual stationery show at the Javitz Center where they had to represent their amazing business, Someday Designs. Finally, my friend Jill and her boyfriend showed up to offer their support!
In the moments before the walk began, I basked in my surroundings and the people who were there for me; the same people who stuck by me during this painful year and throughout my entire life. I thought about all of my loved ones who wanted to be there, but couldn't. I felt my nerves settling and excitement taking over. I also had a profound sense of belonging. I was honored to walk among hundreds of incredible individuals, each one having been touched personally by arthritis. Whether they were patients, friends of patients, or family members, they all gave me strength. More than ever, I was proud to be fighting (and winning) this battle.