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    We Did It!!!!

    Laura Bradford Icon

    It was kind of a surreal moment, standing there, watching last year’s top fund raiser as she cut the blue ribbon to start this year’s walk. Sure, I’d seen that same basic image countless times in newspapers and on the television screen–it’s gotten fairly common place. The surreal-ness, though, came from the fact that this time I wasn’t observing the action from the relative safety and ignorance of my own life. I was watching from about five feet away while standing on a hill wearing sneakers and waiting for the moment I started walking.

    You hear about these things going on for various diseases and causes (just about everyone has a walk these days), but it’s quite another thing to be a part of it because you have the condition stamped across the t-shirt everyone’s sporting…

    (The shirt)

    I’ll admit I got misty-eyed as her shiny pair of scissors cut through the tape, my new reality rather hard to swallow at times. But it was an emotion that faded fast thanks to the twelve people standing behind me—literally and figuratively.

    That’s right, faithful GG blog readers, the M.S. walk in St. Peters, Missouri was held this past Sunday and it was a group-created success from start to finish…

    **Blog reader Beth provided our team name—MSKeteers (Beth, your basket of autographed books and $15 Starbucks gift card will arrive on Friday).

    **Authors Heather Webber, Shelley Galloway, Judy Larsen, and Melanie Lynne Hauser signed on to walk with me from the moment I uttered the desire aloud. Heather got our team web page up and running and drove—along with Shelley and Melanie—five hours to get here for the big event. Big hugs, ladies!

    (The original five)

    **Close friends and blog readers (Joe, Barb, Will & Linda, Sharon & Katherine, and Tony & Suzanne and their whole support dog team) flocked to our team site as soon as they heard about our walk, signing up to be one of the MSKeteers! They showed up on Sunday despite the thirty-five degree temps and occasional sleet/rain showers. I love you guys!!!

    (The official MSKeteer team)

    **GG blog readers, various members of the writing community, and loved ones visited our team’s website and donated to the cause—skyrocketing the MSKeteers to the third place fund-raising team for this particular walk location (we raised just over $2,600!!!!!!!). Donations—big and small—came from all sorts of places. There was a woman from California who reviewed one of my books once, an old high school friend who got his company to match his donation, people I’ve “met” through this blog and/or conferences, family members, total strangers…

    **And then there was Texas Lynn (a loyal GG blog reader) who tracked down a M.S. walk in her own neck-of-the-woods and not only laced up, but also conducted her own fundraising. I’ve never met Texas Lynn. Ever. We’ve simply cyber-met right here on this blog. Yet she pounded the pavement and hit up her family, friends, and local businesses because of something I wrote along the way.

    (Texas Lynn with her shirt)

    I’m thrilled to be able to say we did it! Yay! Yay! Yay!

    But as proud as a moment like that can make you feel, it’s fleeting. Just this morning, while heading to one of my teaching gigs, I heard a news bite on the radio about rising drug costs. Apparently, many insurance companies are going to a percentage based fee (rather than a flat co-pay) for people with specific (read: expensive) illnesses—M.S. and certain forms of cancer being singled out directly. A percentage based fee (on necessary and extremely costly drugs) leaves those patients with a very tough choice…

    Treat or don’t treat. And, in some cases, live or don’t live.

    That’s a decision people shouldn’t be forced to make. Ever.

    Will the $2,600 the MSKeteers raised change that sad fact? Not directly. But our $2,600 and another team’s $1,800, and another team’s $3,500 (and so on and so on) adds up. It adds up to much-needed assistance when the chips are down, it brings visibility to something that most people see from the sidelines, and it gets us closer to finding a cure. For M.S. For cancer. For diabetes. For Alzheimer’s. For Parkinson’s.

    Why? Because people, banding together for what is right, can and do make a difference.

    Remember…The collective voice will always be heard over the whisper of one.

    A big thank you to all of you. Whether you donated, walked, or simply kept us in your thoughts and prayers—it all mattered more than you can ever know.



    P.S. The MSKeteer’s original five (minus me) held a signing the day before the walk. Guess who showed up, blog readers? The one-and-only Theo Epstein (found weekly–in all his grumpy glory–in my comment section). So, in answer to Will’s question at the time (which I’d often wondered myself)…yes, Theo IS real. Unless he sent an imposter…

    (Yup, that’s Theo and me)

    17 Responses to “We Did It!!!!”

    1. Okay, now I’m REALLY sorry I couldn’t make it.

      What an amazing event.

      What an amazing woman who organized it. :D

      Congratulations on a great success

      by J.D. Rhoades on April 14th, 2008 at 9:03 pm

    2. Laura, Great post, again. It was an honor to walk with the MSketeers in the icy wind and blinding snow. Okay, like a good writer, I embellish a bit. Although it did sleet for about 10 minutes (Sleet hurts, by the way).

      A few mental notes from the weekend. Even though the picture is small, notice that Laura shed her coat, scarf and sweater for the picture while the rest of us remained bundled up.

      I had fun chatting with all the talented ladies at the book signing. It’s always a pleasure picking the brains of those that have been through it. And yes, Theo is real and does look better in the picture than he does in person.

      All in all, it was a great weekend and Linda and I had a great time. Thanks to the original five for pulling this all together.

      by Will Bereswill on April 14th, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    3. Wish I could have been there. Congrats on a job well done, y’all!

      by JennieB on April 14th, 2008 at 9:20 pm

    4. Sunday’s walk drove home an important point. Finding a cure for MS isn’t a question of if. It’s a matter of when. We’re all praying the money raised last weekend will make “when” come a little sooner.

      It was a pleasure to spend some time with you again, my friend. And I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the rest of the team. You’ve drawn a wonderful group of people into your orbit. Of course, those souls that cast the brightest light, and the greatest warmth, have a tendency to do that.

      Keep well, keep in touch, and thanks again for making me part of your crew.

      by Joe on April 14th, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    5. Why is it always a walkathon? Who came up with that dumb idea? If people liked to walk, Ben Franklin wouldn’t have invented the automobile. Why, then, do you want to entice people to support your cause by requiring them to participate in an activity that they don’t want to do?

      John Lennon may have been a dirty hippie, but his bed-in for peace idea was pure genius. Support a cause by sleeping in? Everyone can get behind that!

      Yes, that was Theo at the book signing on Saturday. Was Theo there to be supportive of Heather Webber and the other authors? Fat chance. Theo took the opportunity to shoplift $50 of CDs from Borders that day. In practical terms, Theo only made off with a “Greatest Hits of Taylor Dayne” CD–the prices there were outrageous!

      by Theo Epstein on April 14th, 2008 at 10:55 pm

    6. Yay for Laura! Yay for the MSKeteers!!
      It was so fun to meet everyone at both the booksigning and the walk. Thanks for putting it together, Laura, and for being such a wonderful hostess.

      And Joe, I also noticed how cute Laura looked…I’m completely covered up in purple and pink. :wink:


      by Shelley Galloway on April 15th, 2008 at 7:10 am

    7. The walk was a bit chilly, but great. It was so nice to see all the support for MS…and for Laura. It was great meeting everyone, and I hated to leave a little early, but it was a six hour ride home and an hour time difference…

      Oh, and what you don’t see in that picture is Laura shaking like a leaf because she’s freezing.

      by Heather on April 15th, 2008 at 7:19 am

    8. It was so much fun to meet everybody and it felt great to walk for such a good cause. I say, bigger and better (and warmer?) next year!

      Thanks for getting us all together, Laura.

      by judy larsen on April 15th, 2008 at 7:44 am

    9. Woohoo!!1!11!

      Sorry. I was having a moment.

      I think this officially puts you into the “Force of Nature” category. Get a bunch of writers to wander around aimlessly in the snow? That takes moxie. Or is that chutzpah? I always get those mixed up. Is there nothing this woman can’t do?


      I’m still not buying that Theo’s a real person. My money’s on a mutant circus ocelot named “Sparkles” that stowed away on a tramp steamer from Costa Rica in a pile of cocaine and bananas who now lives in a secret underground fortress drinking Boone’s Farm and plotting the overthrow of the Mid-West with his army of Brazilian fetish slaves.

      by Stephen Blackmoore on April 15th, 2008 at 11:55 am

    10. Oh, Theo’s a real person. That’s the wrong question. The correct question is, “Was the person who attended the book signing Theo Epstein, or was it an impostor?” Laura doesn’t know.

      by Theo Epstein on April 15th, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    11. “Oh, Theo’s a real person.”

      Oh, like I’m gonna believe you.

      by Stephen Blackmoore on April 15th, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    12. Laura,
      It was a priviledge to be part of the MSKeteers! It was great to see your support system and to realize that we are lucky enough to be in that elite group. We think that not only are you a talented writer, but a wonderful person. I’m so glad that I was nosy enough interrupt your writing two years ago and to end up being your friend. I have learned so much from you. Thanks!8)

      by Sharon Mayhew on April 15th, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    13. Big Congrats to you Laura & all the MSKeteers!

      Loved your report on the Walk & the pix of the team. What a great-looking group of supporters! Glad it was such a success, & a good time for all, in spite of the weather! (And thanks so much for the kind mention you gave me. I was more than happy to take part in my first-ever 5K!)

      As for Theo…I never imagined he was so, um,…..tall! Heh.

      by Texas Lynn on April 15th, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    14. Good work, MSKeteers! I hear you on the need for more research to find cures, Laura. That’s one reason I enjoy my day job - the research we do is so important. I try to remember that on blah days!

      There is a lot of talk these days around the hospital about cutting unnecessary treatment to lower costs and free up resources for needed treatment - a lot of administrative studies going on - hope that brings good things, but I’m on the side of a cap on health care-related profits, which I think is the only way to really bring costs down.

      by Regina Harvey on April 15th, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    15. Great post and a great story. More congrats to all the MSKeeters! The next generation will never fully know or appreciate what people like you have done for them. May you walk proud always with the wind forever at your backs.

      by Jim on April 15th, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    16. Way to go, Laura and everyone else! Great job!!!

      by Sara on April 15th, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    17. Thanks, everyone!!


      by Laura on April 15th, 2008 at 5:08 pm

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