Monday, April 10, 2017

Walking for the End

As we were strolling down the Clinton Presidential Center sidewalk Saturday, Owen zeroed in on the flags adorning each side.

He studied every face, trying to pick out the one he knew. It was early on the trail that he spotted the memorial recognizing his Poppy. We gathered around it, snapped a pic, and kept on marching in the annual Walk to Defeat ALS. It was our third time to attend, and we wore our superhero blue to remind others of our favorite fighter.

After just a few minutes of silence on the path, Owen poked me in the arm. "There's a lot of these flags, Mom." We continued on the mile trek, and the flags stayed steady. They showed faces of people we didn't know, but people who fought a disease we learned a lot about over the last few years. "Are all these people in heaven?!"

We talked a while about death, which has been a hot topic in our house. Owen wants to know what heaven looks like, why Poppy bowls so loudly during thunderstorms, and if I was there when Jesus died. "But you're from the 1980s!"

I digress...

Once I satisfied his questions to the best of my abilities, we rounded the last stretch and returned to the dozens of tents set up for teams that represent both the faces on the flags and people still living with ALS.

There were 42 teams for this year's walk. And while it's a malicious disease with no cure at this time, this event was full of hope and help. There were smiles and balloons and so much dancing. My mother-in-law even took this opportunity to donate Poppy's turbo wheelchair to another man in need of an upgrade, and it made his day. It was a beautiful way to honor my father-in-law, and I was so proud that the crowd heard the extent of his coolness {both on-road and off}. Saturday was about celebrating the lives lived in spite of ALS, but also remembering the fight is still ongoing.

I know dropping some dollars on a research site, walking a mile, or dumping a bucket of ice on your head doesn't feel like it will cure a terminal disease, but any start is good. Funding research and increasing awareness so others do the same could finally slow the number of flags lining that trail.

Owen and I agreed that there didn't seem to be an end in sight, but one day there will be.

To visit the ALS Association and learn more about how to help, click here. On the same note, my sister- and brother-in-law work tirelessly for a central Arkansas-based organization called ALS in Wonderland that very literally makes the lives of people living with ALS as easy as possible, through financial support, equipment, assistance in medical care, and friendship. It is an excellent resource to look into for volunteering, for donating, and if you know of someone who could use a little help. Click here to learn more!

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