Saturday, April 12, 2008

A Great Day!

Today was it - the day of the Penn State 3K walk and 5K race to benefit Autism Speaks and what a day it was!

Four of the registered walkers for our team were unable to attend but we picked up three others so we were actually only down one walker from what we had anticipated and had the other four been there, it would have given our team 17 walkers -plus two toddler-non-walkers and an infant! Although the intent was that Maya would walk, because her Aunt Carrie insisted on carrying Kurtis over the entire walk (well, she and her brother Clate did take turns holding him from time to time) that left the single stroller empty and by the time we'd gone about one block, Maya decided she wanted to ride in the stroller then.

The weather was beautiful although the forecasters had predicted rain showers sometime this afternoon, it's just starting to sprinkle a bit now -about six hours after they had initially thought the rain would start. The temperature was just nice -not hot, not cold either -nice, inbetween temps where you were comfortable walking without having to wear a jacket.

After we all got to the walk site, finished our registration and got our tee shirts, I happened to look around and saw the Nittany Lion about 50 feet away from where some of us were standing. I asked Maya if she'd like to go meet the Nittany Lion and by the time we started moving to where he'd been, he moved on to another location! I asked another participant if he'd seen which way the Lion had gone and he motioned that he was down by the last tent so off Maya and I went.

The Lion was just getting geared up to do a stage performance and lead the walkers and runners in some cheers when we caught up with him but he was extremely polite and came forward to meet Maya. He knelt beside her and extended his "paws" to her and she looked at him for a couple seconds then slapped his hands in the cheer fashion! I got two pictures of Maya with the Lion that I think are "keepers" for sure. Ones that maybe when she's older she'll understand the symbolism of the Nittany Lion. I tried to get her to do the Penn State Cheer for him but she got too shy on me to do that one.

Last year, I managed to get a group photo of everyone on our team but this year, I was only able to get shots of a couple here, a few others there. But here's the members of our team that I was able to get some photos of today.

The three here are Mandy Harris, the speech therapist who works with Kurtis now and how worked with Maya for 26 months before that. Next to Mandy is a friend of hers, Becky, who teaches 3rd grade at our local elementary school. And in the front, kneeling, is a friend of ours from church, Denise Shimel. Denise did a fantastic job of getting people she works with and friends of hers to sponsor her in the walk which really helped to increase our donation total greatly.
This is Sarah Pelka holding on to her little nephew, Matthew Banghart and in the stroller is Sarah's infant son, Andrew, who is a mere six weeks old. Sarah's sister, Nancie (Matthew's mother) was off someplace when I was taking pictures and unfortunately, I missed getting a shot of her. Nancie and Mandy are very good friends.

Here's Maya, reclining in the single stroller with her Mom and Kelly Luzier. Kelly and her husband Duane Luzier are my son's bosses and they really came forward and supported our team big time.
And finally, here is my son, Clayton, my older grandson, Alex and his mother, Carrie -who was still holding Kurtis long after the walk was completed.

If my calculations are any where near accurate, I figure when our totals are all in -our donations plus the matching funds we will receive from Thrivent -our team will have raised over $2,400 to go towards the Autism Speaks Foundation. I am, needless to say, pleased as punch that we were able to get this many walkers together this year and that our team pulled in that sum in donations too.

Thanks to all those who were able to make it to walk with us today. We had another couple who walked with us too but they had to leave as soon as they completed the walk and I missed getting a photo of them - Frankie and Jen Thomas. Thanks also to Teresa Irwin, Maria Irwin and Kerri Cowfer and Robert Brickley -all who had registered to walk today but were unable to be there with us after all. We missed you not being with us but thank you for your continuing support of our team all the same.

And finally -without friends, neighbors, family members and many of you - my blogger friends -and you generosity, we could never have reached the donation total we achieved today!

Whether you were able to donate money to our team or just supported our efforts with encouraging words, prayers for good weather - the whole nine yards - we appreciate you help and support in any way it was given -very, very much!

And just look how well it all paid off too!!!


Keith said...

Congrats on your efforts. Sounds like it was a very good time indeed and the weather even cooperated.

Great job to you and your team.

Travis Cody said...

Sounds like everyone had a great time. The pictures of Maya with the Lion are great!

... Paige said...

I'm glad it well.

Mary said...

Your team is awesome. You did a terrific job. And that is quite an amount you raised. Congratulations to everyone on the team!!

I tried to find an Autism Speaks walk near my home, but nothing close enough for me to get to it. Maybe next year I will try to form a walk here during April. A few more dollars raised for autism.

Thanks for letting me know that you had photos up about the team. I really appreciate it and enjoyed my visit.


Sandi McBride said...

I hope they raised a ton of money. I've been so pleased with how much the media has been highlighting this cause

Rick Rockhill said...

Good on you! I think this is so cool that you did this and raised $2,400 wow!

Linda Murphy said...

Congratulations on completing the walk and also on the amount of donations you received. The weather looked great too.

Loved the photos of Maya with the lion!

Shelby said...

Many congrats on the walk!! I so need to do something like that.. you're inspiring me.

Dianne said...

I was there in spirit the whole time! If you felt a suddent breeze of warm air that was me ;)

Congrats on all your good work.

Love Maya with the Lion.

Minnesotablue said...

Jeni: That amount of money is awesome! Congratulations. Am preparing for a walk with my daughter and Grandkid also. The MS walk. Anyway, kudos to you