Friday, September 24, 2010

"Our Hike" for Bone Marrow Disease 2010

The "Our Hike" booth about the hike my mom and I took across America in 2006 -- complete with a worn-out pair of holey hiking boots!

Another fundraiser has come and gone, and once again, we'd like to thank everyone involved in making it a great success. However you were involved... by making a donation online, hiking with us, donating raffle items, spreading the word and awareness or even just wishing us well - we thank you! We couldn't do it without our supporters, friends and family.

The event was held on Sept. 11, 2010 this year, and we raised over $1,600 to be sent to the Aplastic Anemia & MDS International Foundation! To date we have raised nearly $130,000 to raise awareness and to find a cure for these deadly bone marrow failure diseases. This is why we continue to hike every year. Every little bit adds up to a bigger amount - and in the end we can all feel like we've worked together to make an impact. We just hope to help save lives. We need more awareness so the correct diagnosis can be made. We need constant patient education materials so patients and their caregivers can get the support they need. Research dollars are also so very important for Bone Marrow disease... these diseases are too often mistaken for cancer... but they aren't! There are no cancer cells involved, which would be a good thing to hear from your doctor... but in the case of bone marrow diseases like Aplastic Anemia, that doesn't mean you're out of the woods by any means. It's not as well known as cancer -- so there aren't as many huge studies done, and there aren't as many widespread support groups out there.

I have a little side-story here about my diagnosis, and I've heard similar stories from other patients, as well. When my mom, dad and I were at the clinic with our hematologist and they told us that it wasn't cancer, or leukemia... there was a sigh of relief. Why wouldn't there be, right? Well, when the doctor then explained that the disease I had was more rare, and that he's only seen one other patient with Aplastic Anemia, we started to feel scared and confused again. Now what, right? Well, my hopes are that upon diagnosis, more patients will be able to say, "Oh, I've heard of that..." and even better yet, "I know someone that's survived that!" What a positive outlook that would start a newly diagnosed patient with!

So we just keep on plugging away. We hope that everyone that joined us this year will be back next year, and we hope if you weren't able to make it out that you can next year. In the big picture we might be a small group, but we sure are a tough one as we continue to hike each year!

As of right now, we plan on having the next event on September 10, 2011, but we might try to move the hike out a couple of weeks so that it's closer to peak fall color season. We will be sure to let everyone know if that time does change, but go ahead and mark your calendars for 9-10-11 for now. :) 

A little synopsis from this year's event... and a few pictures!

We started out with registration at the Corner Connection where we gathered to start the hike. We raffled off two Gregory Daypacks this year for registered hikers - one ladies' and one men's. Ken one the men's and Brenda won the ladies' (Brenda is from Blue Door Consulting in Oshkosh and was a HUGE help with media when my mom and I hiked the ADT in 2006 - she was also someone I'd call if I needed cheering up - she's so bubbly and always picked me up when I was feeling down. She surprised us by showing up with her husband, Alex, to hike with us!)

 Hikers on Hwy. W

We hit the road, going in the opposite direction as we have in past years. We started walking on Hwy. W for a short jaunt, then turned onto Skinner Creek Rd., which is a gravel country road lined with trees. It drizzled on us a little bit, and it was a enough for me to throw on a poncho, but it didn't last too long. It was just enough rain to give the woods some super-vibrant color.

Then we took a slight left onto White Birch Lane - still a gravel country road - then onto the Georgetown ATV trail. The trail narrows and gets prettier as you go. We all enjoyed the woods, and there was even a spatter of fall colors in the trees here and there.

When we finished the hike back at Corner Connection, they graciously held a meat raffle for us! So paddles went around, we drew tickets for some door prizes, and pigged out on a lunch special of pulled pork, chips and a bunch of goodies that family and friends made to share with the hikers (THANK YOU to those who made treats, too!!!).

I think several of us took a little nap before heading to Club 13 in Phillips for dinner, raffles and music. We started out with a yummy spaghetti dinner, then the DJ set up and played some music, and we started up some paddle raffles in between songs. We had a lot of baskets this year (THANK YOU to everyone who helped with baskets by donating items and helping put them together!).

 Baskets for raffling!
We had a couple of "big ticket" items that we sold separate tickets for, too. This was something new we tried, and I think we can improve on it a little bit, but it was still a success. Ken's Carpet in Phillips, WI donated a recliner at cost for us to raffle off. My mom made another crocheted Sock Monkey - those are always a big hit. That sock monkey ended up being the man of the hour for sure! I think everyone got a dance with him! :) Mimi Seamens, the mom of a good friend of mine (Jake!) and her Quilting club put together an "Our Hike" quilt made with our signature bandanas! It was awesome! In fact, my mom and I usually don't get in on the raffles, but we both decided we'd put a ticket in for the quilt... and my mom's name was pulled! It was really funny, because when her name was called she didn't hear it at first... then she saw everyone looking at her and she exclaims, "What!? Who won!?" When we told her it was her, she jumped up and down and squeeled! She was so excited. I think everyone was happy to see she won it. And I'm totally cool with it because she already told me she's gonna' will it to me! Tee-hee! :)

The "Our Hike" Quilt with some raffle baskets

 After the music and raffles were done, some of us were headed out to the Phillips Fairgrounds where we had a group camp set up. Mike and Joan, the owners of Club 13, arranged a limo ride for those of us staying out there! That was an awesomely fun perk to camping! I can honestly say I've never had a limo ride to my tent before this!

The campers got a limo ride back to camp at the end of the night 

Our night ended at camp with a nice campfire, a midnight snack of sweet corn on the fire, a ringing bell and some great conversation. Thanks to everyone for such a fun time. I already can't wait until next year. Again, we hope to make it bigger and better next year!

We'd like to send out a special thanks to The Corner Connection, Club 13, Mimi Seamens and the Sassy Quilter's, and Kens Carpets.

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