A Little Something Extra

Saturday, October 2, 2010

31 for 21... awareness walk

Wow, what a day.  Today was the first Down Syndrome Awareness Walk in Neenah, WI, and we chose to go back home to the Fox Cities and visit Mark's parents and invite our friends and family to join us on the walk.  I don't know the final numbers, but there were 800 people registered before the event and they were expecting about 1,000 people.  Fabulous turnout for the first year!

We are so grateful to everyone who contributed to our team.  The fundraisers for Micah's Mavericks raised a total of over $1,000 for Down syndrome awareness in the Fox Cities.

The walk coordinator, Melanie Baeten, deserves HUGE kudos (and a nice vacation).  There were many doubters around her, but she had vision and made it happen (along with many other awesome volunteers).

We had lots of friends join us to walk (over 40!!!).  Pictured below is our incredible Melissa, who started helping our family about a month after Micah came home from the NICU.  She was a nursing student at the time.  She has such a peaceful presence about her and she helped keep me sane during Micah's first year and beyond.  She has since graduated and now works at the NICU where both Micah and Matthew "did time."  Melissa brought her mom, boyfriend, sister, and her sister's family (including her 6-month-old godson). 

Here is Melissa (in the white jacket), along with her family and Mark's dad on the left.

Here's our team photo, and it didn't even include all of our walkers as 3 families arrived shortly after we took the photo.

Self-advocate, Eric Edwards, spoke before the walk.  He's amazing.  How many people do YOU know who have worked in the same job for 20 years.  People wait longer in his checkout line at the market because he is such a joy.

Here's Micah meeting Rachel Coleman (founder and hostess of Signing Time... more on that later) before the walk.  He was really tired and slightly confused.  He was also quite distressed because there had just been a lot of clapping.  Micah has "auditory defensiveness."  More on that later too.

Here we go... let's walk!  By the way... it was FREEZING!  The temperature was *maybe* 49 degrees and there was a hefty wind.

Did I mention Micah was tired?  I carried him for almost a mile before Mark took over.  I'll be sore tomorrow!

Nathan and his best girl, Gracie.  Can you tell he was cold?  My little Georgia peach was wearing two long-sleeve shirts (one with a hood), a jacket, a hat, and sunglasses.  I don't know how he could see!

Isn't this a lovely place for a walk?  Lake Winnebago is on the left.  Trivia for you for the day: Lake Winnebago is the largest fresh-water lake contained in one state in all of the United States.

Rachel Coleman, signing "Leah," who is Micah's favorite person on Signing Time.

Still quite traumatized...

This is Brian, holding Lilya and Ruby.  Lilya came home to her forever family, the Zoromski's, in July.

This little 3yr old was the sweetest girl I saw all day (and she had some SERIOUS competition).

Here is Micah with the younger Micah.  And our Micah is smiling.  Can you tell that the clapping and performing were finished?

Poor Rachel... it was so stinkin' cold, but she stuck around to meet every family who wanted to meet her.  Micah finally thought this was pretty neat.

Yes, we had to get Rachel a cheesehead.  Here she is, signing "Cheese!"


Emily said...

Looked like a great walk... and freezing! We enjoyed having Rachel at ours too! Made Justin's day!

my family said...

oh how much fun. Icantwait for our on the 30th. This is one of my fave days of the year!

Cheri said...

How fun you got to meet Rachel!! :)

Crittle said...

Oh, how nice of you! A friend sent me over here to read your post and get all weepy. The internet is a small place, huh? And I still can't get over how we met after we "knew" each other for years!

paige said...

i have a question about the awareness walk... i was reading about another ds awarenemss walk & i wondered if something like that exists around here. We don't have any friends here with downs syndrome, or even friends with children who have ds - but this sounds like such a great opportunity to be supportive...