Monthly Archives: September 2015

Madison Rocked the NEDA Walk!

Lake before walk 2015 Fam at NEDADawn n Alec at NEDA walk

At the end of the day – It’s all about the people; and the people of Madison came through big time for our National Eating Disorder Walk!   I could not be happier or prouder of the result.

The weather and the venue were perfect.  There is nothing as sweet as a warm September day in Wisconsin; and there is nothing as beautiful as the views by Madison’s lakes.  If you could overlook the backdrop of the dumpsters behind our registration tables–the other vistas were gorgeous.

The only committee member to actually arrive at the venue on time to setup, took a gorgeous picture of the lake next to Vilas park;  a picture of calm before the crowd began to arrive.  And… It. Was. A. Crowd!   We had over 300 people attend the walk – well over anyone’s expectations when we started out last winter.

The first crisis of the day was immediate and urgent.  The bathrooms were locked.   My Son, Ben, did his first good deed of the day by tracking down a park ranger to unlock them.  His second good deed of the day was bringing his wife, Jessica, who was a terrific help at the chaotic on-site registration desk, along with my daughter, Kelly.  Guzzy finalized the volunteer troupe of my kids, by staffing the prize table with her BF and with Ben.  Hubby Dan also stepped up big time; at one point giving the shirt off his back to a volunteer who needed one for a photo op. (Giving us all a cheap thrill)

Other committee members  recruited family members to flesh out our core team to about 20 volunteeers.  We needed all of them!  We had music, we had refreshments, we had fliers and prizes from our sponsors, we had temporary tattos, we had loads of prizes, we had bandanas for the doggies, and once the speakers got underway–we had tears and we had hugs.

A local news channel covered the event;  we appeared in a 15 second blurb on the evening news.  If you look really closely you can see me clutching a clipboard and Guzzy strutting her stuff while carrying the banner with Dave leading the walk. See it at News coverage.   Although the news anchor said we hoped to raise $10,000… we have raised over $18,000 and I expect that to climb to $19,000 by the time all the after-walk donations are in.

I Emceed the event, which required frequent navigation of the maze atop our small stage; which contained a variety of sound and musical equipment.  Two of our lessons learned for next year:  Rent a bigger stage and get a bigger sound system — they had a  trouble hearing in the back.

Our first speaker was Dave.  Dave is also a member of the walk committee AND was our TOP fund-raiser after coming on like gang-busters in the week preceding the walk. Dave’s story was both incredibly sad and incredibly inspiring.  He was/is a brilliant young man with a bright future; but at one point he lost almost everything due to his eating disorder; but he has since managed to take back control over his own life.  Later during the event, a young man approached me and told me how much Dave’s story meant to him.  I am hoping the two of them connected in person.

The other speakers were also fantastic – everyone showed up (which is always a concern) and did a great job.  A local pizzaria delivered 10 large pizzas at the end of the event (JUST in time); all of which were quickly devoured.

Our contacts at NEDA HQ watched our progress with interest – we were one of several walks being held last weekend, and the comment that was shared with me was “Madison is Kicking Butt”!   Yah… That’s Right — we kicked us some ED butt and it felt good!

Walk Eve Butterflies

It is Beyond my wildest expectations.  The Madison NEDA Walk is tomorrow morning, and we have already  raised DOUBLE our original fund-raising goal.  The weather is going to be gorgeous and I have just learned that a local TV station WILL be covering the event.  I feel like singing “One Day More’ from Les Miz.  Tomorrow is going to be a thrill ride.

Every single person on the walk committee (and at NEDA hq) has been AMAZING!  We all have demanding day jobs, yet everyone has found time to promote and prep for this event.  Every time we have an obstacle, someone steps up in both big and little ways.  It’s a great team.

Friday night most of us got together for a tote-stuffing party at my house.  It was an opportunity to share a relaxing glass of wine with this dedicated and inspiring bunch; prior to circling my dining room table 200 times grabbing fliers, coupons, pens and other miscellania  to stuff into the walk totes.

Due to the overwhelming response, we will not have enough totes or T-shirts for everyone. While this is an inconvenience–its a great problem to have, since there’s no such thing as ‘too many’ walkers at this kind of event  Most importantly, we have an abundance of what is truly important: Enthusiasm, mutual respect and a message of caring.

Last winter I wasn’t sure if I should, or could, coordinate a NEDA walk — but I took the leap.   I am so glad that I did–the journey has been rewarding in a thousand ways; many of them unexpected.

Right now:   The totes are stuffed; the T-shirts are sorted; the speakers are confirmed; emails have been sent; assignments have been made; my own remarks are written; the checklists have been checked; the forms have been printed; the van is loaded.

Let the Walk Begin.


So Close, Yet So Far

It was so close!  According to all the media hype, it was practically a sure thing.  All Serena had to do was win two more matches, and the greatest tennis player of all time would have accomplished that most elusive of challenges:  The calendar slam.  JUST TWO MORE MATCHES!

It was so unexpected!  You’ve probably never heard of the woman that beat her–Roberta Vinci.  She has never before been in a singles semi-final at a major event .  Yet, at 32 years of age with over a decade of so-so results in singles on the professional women’s tour — she beat the best player of all time on the biggest tennis stage in the world.  What a thrill!

It was so strange!  Serena was visibly tense.  Who wouldn’t be?  there were over 22,000 people in Arthur Ashe stadium cheering her on, including luminaries from around the world.  A few times Serena looked as if she was going to cry–and that’s when things were going well.  She has been under an amazing amount of pressure; while her opponent and nothing to lose and everything to gain.

This is a reminder that tennis is a sport–it is a game.  On Thursday evening Serena didn’t have her best stuff and her opponent played great.  We (the royal, global, American ‘we’) have a  tendancy to iconize (I don’t even think that’s a word) our sports heroes.  But, occasionally we are reminded that they are people too–just like us.

It makes me think about the other middle-of-the-pack players that  dedicate their life to a sport, and never get the kind of recognition, fame or wealth that the top players receive.  For every Serena there are dozens of professional players who will never have their moment in the sun at a Grand Slam, and most of them will never have the type of shining moment that Roberta Vinci experienced last Thursday night.

For myself, I admit to wishing that once in awhile someone would  come and cheer me on during a tennis match!  The only time this actually happened was about ten years ago; my mom and dad plopped down their lawn chairs behind the court to watch me play in a court near their home.  (It was very sweet and I regret that I admonished them to stop their ‘chatter’ during the points.)

All of this has me pondering the nature of celebrity (blessing or curse?), as well as how the vast majority of us go about our business without a lot of recognition, fame or fortune.   Do we somehow believe that celebrities are more deserving than the rest of us?  Are they happier than the rest of us?   These are interesting questions, and ones I plan on ‘pondering’ at a later time.





Back to the Future

Summer in Wisconsin is a fleeting and beautiful season, and September is the crowning jewel that bridges the gap from summer to fall. September brings many returns; to school and to familiar routines.  In keeping with that theme, I have recently returned to a former employer.  Almost every day brings one or two moments of deja vu; as I encounter colleagues in the hallway who weren’t aware of my return; they do a double-take, followed by a greeting and (in special cases) a hug.  I am very glad to be back.

My oldest daughter, Kelly, is preparing her High School Spanish classroom for the arrival of students next week.  As a first year teacher, she is both excited and a little nervous.  I have every confidence she will do well; and her students will do well not to challenge the diminutive Senora Herrera.  She will go chihuaha on your ass.

The NEDA Walk is a little more than two weeks away – and the donations are starting to roll in!  I am really pleased with the response over the last few weeks.  Our local paper ran a very nice article (click here to read it)  in their weekly publication about Guzzy and I to help promote awareness and participation in the walk.  While there were a couple errors in the story, nothing substantive – I am so proud of my girl (truly a young  lady – but she will always be my girl) for being open and honest about her struggles!  It is so important for others to hear first-person accounts with a message that recovery is possible.

Last weekend I attended a Class reunion – the exact year count becomes less important as the number gets ridiculously large.  It was moderately attended by a bunch of not-yet-old, but no-longer-young former classmates.  I caught up with many people I went to grade school with, including one fellow that lived across the street from me for many years-one of which was marred by an unrequited crush on my part.

Dan and I are scurrying about trying to actuate another life  event… that is not yet firmly enough established to publish… but suffice it to say that we have a lot going on.

The US Open is in full swing, but I have too much going on to justify spending chunks of time vegging in front of the TV.  I must admit that watching a 3 hour (or more in the case of a 5 set mens match) can get a little boring for the most die hard fans.  Of course the big story is the Serena Calendar Slam.  So many of the women top seeds are gone–the smart money is on Serena winning it all.  OK…. maybe I’ll end up watching just a little bit of tennis this weekend.