Archives for category: Hope

Team Pop 2017
At mile 4, I started undoing one of the safety pins that held my race number to my “Team Pop” shirt. It was hot. I was tired. I felt done. I would simply pull off my number and sneak away from the race. My car was just across the street from that particular spot on the course. Would it matter if I bailed now? My intent had been sincere. My energy and motivation at that moment were sapped.

But I thought about Pop, who I had met only that morning before the event. Kenny’s dad. Grandpa to Jess and Ken’s 6-month old. Mrs. Morris’s husband. I convinced myself that the overheating misery I was experiencing was nothing compared to the fatigue and illness Pop has been going through as he battles lymphoma. Or the anger and frustration Ken has dealt with watching a parent battle an invisible opponent like blood cancer. And the courage I witness in my own mother as she faces lung cancer head-on.

I re-fastened the safety pin and told myself this was not going to be my induction into the quitting hall of fame just because the run felt hard. Fighting cancer is hard. And so is watching it from outside the ring as a grown child, like Ken & Jess, who only recently became parents themselves.

The conversation that took place in my head included a reprimand to myself with the reminder that this event and this day were not about me. Not in the least. The mental reaming involved a laundry list of thrashings that included the recognition that my ego was getting in the way of why I had come out to be part of Team Pop in the first place.

I thought about standing with my hand over my heart while the national anthem was played before the race and how emotional I felt knowing that Kenny had pulled together a large group of folks who wanted to show their support for him and his dad. I thought about how competitive I am with myself and how at this stage in my life I do not need or even really want the accolades or trophy that come with being first or fastest. That being healthy and strong and able-to are reasons enough to toe the start line and cross through the finish chute. Not an option for Pop right now.

Waiting to cross the finish line with Ken and others from the team he organized made me feel grateful and humble. The smile on Pop’s face, and the appreciation he showed for everyone who had gathered to support and honor him was powerful. The story Ken and Jess saw of their lives only a year ago did not include Pop having to suffer with blood cancer and maybe sooner than later miss out on holding, playing with and passing on wisdom to their child.

Kenny’s effort to do something so tangible to honor his dad, including surrounding him with so many people channeling positive energy in his direction, has to have converted into some sort of healing power, at least for now. I am grateful for the personal awakening that occurred by doing something good for someone else. And I still have not checked the times or results from the race.

I do know that that the lofty goal Ken set of raising $10K for the Leukemia & Lymphoma society was met and will support research and science to help find a cure. That, by far, is the best prize I have ever seen on the podium of any 10-K.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. These are the types of cancer that can affect the bone marrow, blood, lymph nodes or other parts of the lymphatic system. Their mission: cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. Funds raised support lifesaving blood cancer research around the world and provide free information and support services.

Running for Pop. Fueled by hope and love. Camaraderie. A cause. Distraction from what cannot be controlled. Purple passion. Spirit. Thanks, Kenny. Thank you, Pop.

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polio1950s

Photo from the Roosevelt library collection.

“We must fear a resurgence of this dreaded disease.”~ Peggy Bowditch

Read Peggy’s story here.

Join Gloucester Point Virginia Rotary Club as we raise awareness and funds to help eradicate polio as it lurks in just two nations: Afghanistan and Pakistan.   Plants to End Polio is a project where we partnered with Brent & Becky’s Bulbs Bloomin’ Bucks program so that when you select Gloucester Point Rotary Charitable Foundation, 25% of your sale is donated to End Polio Now.  Unfortunately, the “shop” is closed for the season but will re-open in January.  In the meantime, please help us spread the word.  The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will match every dollar donated to End Polio Now 2:1.

Check out this post for hints on growing beautiful bulbs during the dreary winter months.

Doing_the_ALS_Ice_Bucket_Challenge_(14927191426)The Ice Bucket Challenge to raise funds for ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) “has been a game-changer,” said Barbara Newhouse, CEO of the ALS Association. To date, the organization has received an unprecedented donation of more than $22 million, unheard of in the organization’s history.

Imagine being a vibrant middle aged man whose symptoms started with slurring speech at work…just enough to get co-workers whispering and wondering if he had been “indulging” on the ride in to the office, only to get the dreaded diagnosis of “ALS.”

Yeah, sure, we’ve all heard of Lou Gehrig’s Disease, but how does it really impact the world and family of the patient? Each family who has experienced the change and decline in their loved one has its own story. And I am quite certain that any one of them would have dumped a hundred buckets of ice water on themselves if it meant more time with that father, mother, brother, sister, daughter or son.

ALS is a progressive disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Motor neurons, which lead from the spinal cord to all muscles, degenerate and eventually the cells die. This means the ability of the brain to initiate and control movement ceases. Eventually, patients may become totally paralyzed, unable to speak, swallow or breathe.

The ALS Association’s mission includes providing services to assist people with ALS and their families. The Association builds hope and enhances quality of life while aggressively searching for new treatments and a cure.

Physical Therapists help people with ALS by designing exercise programs to decrease muscle cramps and stiffness, strengthen unaffected muscles, improve cardiovascular health and make equipment recommendations to improve quality of life.

What will the ALSA do with the donations raised from the Ice Bucket Challenge? According to Newhouse, “invest prudently in helping people with ALS and their families and caregivers in the battle against the disease, while resolutely pursuing all avenues to extend, improve and ultimately save lives.”

Karen Kovacs PT, OCS is a Clinical Director at Tidewater Physical Therapy’s Gloucester Point Clinic. She is helping to coordinate the 2nd Annual Richmond Endurance Athlete Symposium: A Day of Motivation and Education, January 24, 2015 at The Westin Richmond. Endurance means something different to everyone, especially someone living with ALS. Tidewater Physical Therapy and Tidewater Performance are Title Sponsors. Proceeds from the event will be donated to Richmond 2015, host of the UCI World Cycling Championships, and the Brain Injury Association of Virginia.

Photo: Creative Commons https://www.flickr.com/people/14771153@N04 by slgckgc