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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!