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  • Writer's picturebridget snell

No. 492

Day +512

I learned a few things last weekend. They were pretty profound.

1. There is a beef jerky outlet store on Cape Cod.

2. The Path to Perseverance is a dead end. Take a left and head back to Rt. 6A.

3. Oligodentrocytes.

If you remember, last weekend was the 50-mile Challenge Walk for MS (and I'm sure you do remember because that's when you learned the latin non compos mentis). My sister, Cheryl, and I perambulated through Hyannis, Brewster, Orleans, Dennis and back to Hyannis. Hurricane Dorian threw some shade and cut 10 miles off our walk, but I'm still telling people we walked the full 50 because that sounds like more of an accomplishment.

The National MS Society has been making people walk for them since 2002. That means there are veteran Challenge Walkers who have put in 850 miles to raise awareness and funds for a cure. This year alone, 534 of us walked and raised a collective $813,118.63 to date for this one weekend. It is impressive (and so is all the math I put in this blog, wow, it's been awhile since I gave you a lot of numbers like this. It's good to be back).

This was my first event and interaction with the National MS Society, but it won't be my last. They don't support HSCT--yet--but they do great work and have helped so many MSers with their battles. The S'Myelin Sisters will be back next year and the next year and the next.

The route was pretty and allowed us to see each Cape town in a way only an ultrawalker can. And the time the volunteers spent keeping the walkers distracted from the reality of what we signed up for was impressive. Every 1.5 to 3 miles we were met with a watering station, snacks, [ahem] amenities of the portable kind, and cheerleading families. The families were all decked out in themes to keep it fun (shout out to the Dr. Seuss-themed family. I meant what I said and I said what I meant). Even the SAG trucks were decked out in streamers and bubble makers.

But the coolest part of the hot weekend walk, was on the second day of the weekend, after mile 30, when one of my favorite people surprised me at base camp to cheer me in and do some calming reiki on me. If you've followed my blog at all, you're realizing, as I am, that I am that person who somehow gets a personalized, mobile cheer squad when the going gets tough. I had one for chemo. I had one for the stem cell transplant. I had one for 50 miles.

You should look into this for yourself.

Speaking of cheerleaders, you know that person in your life who you don't see as often as you'd like, but they're the ones who get and send late-night texts with funny giphys, bring wine for your heated discussions about life, tell you your hair reminds them of a Fraggle and it doesn't offend? Well my person walked 50 miles for me, with me, this weekend. My oldest sister (the one who everyone thinks is my younger sister because her skin regime is better than mine) didn't even blink when I brought the Challenge to her. She said "let's do this" so quickly, you'd have thought I had just asked her to be a caregiver during a stem cell transplant or something. Forever grateful, CA. Forever blistered. Love you to the Cape and back in the aftermath of a hurricane on hard pavement in the rain. That's love.

On Sunday, when the last mile had been peregrinated (you're welcome for that one), we all gathered for a bbq and rest. We put on orange and blue t-shirts (orange if you have MS, blue if you love someone who does) and took another 1/4 mile walk through Hyannis together to get to our family.

Just a quick side here: I know that the Challenge Walk event planners call this a parade, but what I call it is the "why-the-hell-are-they-making-me-walk-to-them-come-pick-me-up-over-here-damnit-my-fee-are-killing-me-arade"

But at the end of the -arade I saw my perfect family, waving orange pom poms and whistling and cheering. My daughters and Matt were all smiles and excitement and it gave me the burst I needed to get me through the line and distract me from the soreness. As I zoom out my focus, I see that they brought the neighborhood. The kids, the Moms and even one of the Aunts. It was incredible. My village is amazing. My blessed life.

For those who have made this weekend happen with donations of money, supplies, love and support on the homefront, I applaud you and thank you 5,025 times. That's a thank you for every dollar you raised for team S'Myelin Sisters! I look at you all in awe. I can't think of any witty way to describe this feeling. It's not MS that's making my heart feel this way.

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