iWalk… for Kids… and for My Health

Last Sunday T and I went out to support Miller Children’s Hospital (MCH) at the 2nd Annual iWalk… for Kids. We walked, played, got inspired, and did a lot of sole-searching.

Participants kick off the 2013 iWalk... for Kids with some stretching sponsored by Long Beach Boot Camp.

Participants kick off the 2013 iWalk… for Kids with some stretching sponsored by Long Beach Boot Camp.

The Miller Children's Hospital "dolphin" was there to cheer the walkers on!

Millie the Dolphin, Miller Children’s Hospital’s mascot, was there to cheer the walkers on!

Jump in the air like you care, T!

Jump in the air like you care, T!

T and his friends before setting off for the 2nd annual iWalk... for Kids.

T and his friends before setting off for the 2nd annual iWalk… for Kids. The boy in the stroller was just not awake yet (he’s usually happy, go-lucky!).

GO! Off T goes with his friend ahead of our pack.

And… GO! Off T heads out ahead of us with his friend at MCH’s 2013 iWalk… for Kids.

T and his friend cooperating to push their other friend in a stroller during the iWalk.

T and his friend cooperating to push their other friend in a stroller during the iWalk.

The three kids heading over the Queensway Bridge during the 2013 iWalk... for Kids.

The three kids heading over Queensway Bridge during the 2013 iWalk… for Kids.

First, the walk part got off on just the right foot! We kicked off the morning by carpooling with a few friends and meeting up with others at the Queen Mary Events Park. We decided to make this year’s iWalk a semi-family affair (Note for next year: Get the Dads out there, too). T and all of the kids with us – and the kids around us throughout the route that we noticed anyway – did AWESOME! In fact, not only did T not complain once during the 2+-mile route, but he also helped push his little buddy in a stroller! And that little buddy in all his three years got out often and walked part of the way, too!

T and his friend before the start of the walk. It was pretty fogged in when we arrived!

T and his friend before the start of the walk. It was pretty fogged in when we arrived!

Once the fog lifted, we got to enjoy views like this during this year's iWalk... for Kids.

Once the fog lifted, we got to enjoy views like this during this year’s iWalk… for Kids.

The walk was as fun as it was beautiful. While last year’s weather was a bit clearer at the start of the race, the fog kept the temps down for all the walkers, making it that much more pleasant of a morning to be out with our kids and support such a worthy cause. Eventually, the fog cleared away as we walked, too, offering up the beautiful views of downtown Long Beach for us to enjoy. Gorgeous!

We made it to the finish line! And look at all the fun waiting for us?!

We made it to the finish line! And look at all the fun waiting for us!

T chats up the Mercy Air helicopter medic at iWalk.

T chats up the Mercy Air helicopter medic at iWalk.

The kids loved being able to go inside the helicopter. What kid wouldn't?!

The kids loved being able to go inside the helicopter. What kid wouldn’t?!

The Mercy Air 'copter landed at this year's iWalk... for Kids, and of course we stopped for our photo opps!

The Mercy Air ‘copter landed at this year’s iWalk… for Kids, and of course we stopped for our photo opps!

Whee! Of course, this was T's first stop at the Family Funfest following iWalk.

Whee! Of course, this was T’s first stop at the Family Funfest following iWalk.

Next up, the kids got to take a whack at cancer in the battle bounce house.

Next up, the kids got to take a whack at cancer by taking down one another in the battle bounce house.

T tackles the horizontal ladder jump.

T tackles the horizontal ladder jump.

I was impressed that T figured this ladder climb out so quickly, but it was still no easy task!

I was impressed that T figured this ladder climb out so quickly, but it was still no easy task!

T at the bean bag toss. He's had a lot of practice since we have that yard game "cornhole"!

T at the bean bag toss. He’s had a lot of practice since we have that yard game “corn-hole”!

T and the other kids fished for a cure at MCH's iWalk... for Kids.

T and the other kids fished for a cure at MCH’s iWalk… for Kids.

T got fitted for a new (and free!) bike helmet during this year's iWalk... for Kids!

T got fitted for a new (and free!) bike helmet during this year’s iWalk… for Kids!

The folks with Bike Long Beach snapped a few shots of T in his new helmet. Thanks, guys!

The folks with Bike Long Beach snapped a few shots of T in his new helmet. Thanks, guys!

Once at the finish line, we let the games begin! The kids bolted for the Mercy Air helicopter, fire trucks, bounce houses, and other game booths. There were also several giveaways to all in attendance, including free snacks and brand new bike helmets. The helmets were a huge hit with the kids and parents and a very generous gesture by whomever was behind that safe swag (I think they were sponsored by Bike Long Beach and Kohl’s Cares – do correct me if that’s not right). And the snow cones and slushies got rave reviews, too!

Nothing better than an icy slushie to cool us down after the iWalk!

Nothing better than an icy slushy to cool us down after the iWalk!

I've coveted this for a long, long time. Thanks to the folks from the Magic Castle for making their appearance and doing their magic at this year's iWalk... for Kids!

I’ve coveted this for a long, long time. Thanks to the folks from the Magic Castle for making their appearance and doing their magic at this year’s iWalk… for Kids!

Another awesome and renowned group who made an iWalk appearance this year was The World-Famous Magic Castle. RMT’ers, let me explain something, as this is of the utmost importance: The Castle is legendary. In fact, it’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit, and it turns out it’s another place that C hasn’t been before either despite his growing up so close to it. But given that it’s an ultra-private club that can be attended by invitation-only from a member in good standing, well, it’s finding that connection that partially makes a visit to it so sought-after, let alone the whole mystery and history behind it. And now we are just one reservation away from making our magical mission complete. Thanks to Magician B (I won’t give you up, promise!) for making it all remotely possible!

T making his sign for this year's iWalk.

T making his sign for this year’s iWalk. We walked for our friend Sydney and her family again this year.

T helps his buddy finish up his sign.

T helps his buddy finish up his sign.

Wonderful volunteers like these gals cheered us on throughout the event.

Wonderful MCH and community volunteers like these lovely ladies cheered us on throughout the event.

Sometimes all anyone needs is a high-five to keep on going.

Sometimes all anyone needs is a high-five to keep on going in whatever it is they’re trying to accomplish.

One of the team booths at the 2nd Annual iWalk... for Kids.

One of the team booths at the 2nd Annual iWalk… for Kids.

From the MCH website: "September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and a time to celebrate the lives of children battling childhood cancer and raise awareness about the immense impact of this disease. Join the Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Center at Miller Children’s as we spread awareness, hope and Go Gold for kids with cancer." More details are available online about this very worthy awareness campaign.

From the MCH website: “September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and a time to celebrate the lives of children battling childhood cancer and raise awareness about the immense impact of this disease. Join the Jonathan Jacques Children’s Cancer Center at Miller Children’s as we spread awareness, hope and Go Gold for kids with cancer.” More details are available online about this very worthy campaign, and you can send messages online with the hashtag: #SpreadHopeGoGold.

Now for the inspiration part of our morning: The kids of MCH. While the Magic Castle magicians were there performing a bag of tricks for the kids, one transformation that still remains unattainable is making pediatric cancers and other debilitating illnesses permanently disappear. Try as they might – and they try to give it their all each and every day – doctors, support staff, and so many other MCH-affiliated researchers and partners continue to search tirelessly for those missing links. It’s through their efforts backed by the funds raised from wonderful events like iWalk… for Kids that we all can come together as one community toward the cause. But regardless of how far we still need to go on that journey, these kids continue to amaze and rally everyone at every turn; it’s pretty hard for us to stop fighting for these kids when they don’t give up themselves, right, RMT’ers?

At one point during the event, T turned to me and asked, “So is everyone here to help the sick kids?” I told him yes, yes they are. He then followed up with, “So why aren’t there more people here? Doesn’t everyone want to help sick kids?!” I told him that sure, most folks absolutely want to help, but sometimes people just don’t know how or where to start. I didn’t even realize the irony of my statement at the time, but really isn’t the easiest way toward tackling a daunting task is to take it one step at a time? What a more perfect way to personify that sentiment than with a fundraising event aptly named “iWalk.”

I know I’ve talked about inspiration a lot this week. I think that is because our family has gone through some more challenging times as of late. We have had a lot of family members and close friends tested as some those close to them have fallen ill; a couple of them sadly have lost their battles recently and passed away. Rather than dwell on the losses and setbacks during times like these, I choose to look at my life and reassess, re-evaluate, and react appropriately, making decisions about the things I do have control over.

Isn't this canal beautiful? This is just around the corner from T's school. I now have no excuse to not be walking almost daily after drop-off. If this view isn't inspirational enough I'm not sure what is!

Isn’t this canal beautiful? This is just around the corner from T’s school. I now have no excuse to not be walking almost daily after drop-off. If this view isn’t inspirational enough I’m not sure what is!

I made a new year’s resolution that included getting back to the gym. Well, guess what? I never went back. Well, OK, I went a couple of times this year (yes, literally two times), but that’s hardly a life-changing move by any means. But that ends this week. Rather than ask a neighbor or staffer to drive me, iWalk… for Kids on Sunday inspired me to walk the 1-1/2 miles home Wednesday after dropping my car off at the mechanic. Rather than drive immediately home after dropping T off at school, iWalk also inspired me to walk along the gorgeous canals surrounding his school yesterday and this morning after drop-off. Lastly, iWalk inspired me to get back onto my personal trainer’s weekly calendar at my gym starting later this morning. Yes, I am making the decision to integrate healthier activities and habits into my daily routine again and take better care of me. “I walk” for me, for my family, and for the kids of MCH so I can be there for them at next year’s event.

Hope to see you at the 3rd Annual iWalk… for Kids in 2014!

Advertisements