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“To see the power of love, respect, inspiration, drive, and altruism at its best.” – Team Rehab United
Diane was diagnosed with MS in June 2009.
"At the time I didn't know what to do. I had been an athlete, but now had to sit in the stands, or did I? While searching for how to live life my way, I got involved. Team Diane was formed to honor my fight to live life more fully in spite of MS. But it is the commitment by the participants of the Challenge Walk that honor and humble me. People just like you who are part of the most amazing weekend imaginable; sharing a journey together. Being a part of the Challenge Walk allows me to take control over what MS means in my life, and I have also met the most incredible people, who have become my friends and family. " -Diane
James Derick, Co-Captain of The Lombardi Party team
I was diagnosed with MS on November 5, 2007. In truth though, it took a solid year for me to fully comprehend what the words "you have MS" meant. Having experienced a multitude of unexplained neurological symptoms leading up to my diagnosis, my initial reaction was one of relief. I had been convinced I had a brain tumor. A year later, after spending many hours reading on MS and experiencing two flares I began to realize just what this diagnosis might mean for my future.
I decided to volunteer at the Society offices in Waltham and quickly found myself surrounded by an incredible gathering of people. Positive, upbeat people determined to make a difference. And it was here that I was introduced to "Challenge Walk."
At Challenge Walk I met a group of incredibly committed, compassionate and tough (yes tough) people! These people are truly a part of a large and ever expanding family. Multiple sclerosis is the rallying call for this event; it is the cause for which this family pulls together. The result however is much more than raising money for a cure. The result is everlasting, deep and lifelong friendships. Through these friendships I have learned to face my fears and take action.
Over the years I have met countless people in the Challenge Walk community who have shown me by example that those of us living with MS do not have to relinquish control of our lives to this disease. I have learned from this community how to make a choice not to be defined by this disease. In joining them I joined a group with a sense of purpose.
When you register for Challenge Walk you agree to meet a number of challenges. First, the fundraising; $1,500 is the minimum required for each walkerIt would be easy to sit on the sidelines complaining about a lack of resources. "I can't raise $1,500. I don't know enough people!" "I could never participate in this, not with my physical limitations!" "I just don't have time to commit to something like this!"
The Challenge Walk is a community founded on resourcefulness. Fundraising is often done with incredible creativity. Folks come together to host fundraisers; from comedy nights to cocktail parties, from harbor cruises to pub crawls. The list is seemingly endless. On walk weekend you will see people overcome incredible physical challenges to participate! Whether wheeling the route, using canes, walkers or other mobility aids, or simply walking until their body has had enough, all of these people choose to participate any way they can.
And finally, throughout the year walkers and volunteers find the time (or make the time) to engage in the year-round preparation for Walk Weekend. As I found out first hand, once you participate in one Challenge Walk, you WILL be back. It is just that powerful of an experience!
So if you haven't joined this community yet, what are you waiting for?! There is plenty of room for you here. There is an entire community ready to help you engage. So, come on out and join the family!
When I first heard about Challenge Walk MS: Twin Cities, I thought it sounded intriguing, but also a little insane. I had been living with multiple sclerosis since 2001 and wondered whether I'd even be able to finish. In the end, the idea of walking 50 miles for a disease I live with every day pushed me to accept the challenge.
As a person living with MS, Challenge Walk MS is a safe haven — it's a place where people understand the unique challenges of MS. Hundreds of people spend their entire weekend walking, talking, celebrating, and sometimes crying about a disease that touches them in some way. It's because of this amazing group that we have new research and new treatments, and it's because of this group that we are closer than ever to a cure.
My husband, Scott, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis shortly before we were engaged — nearly 20 years ago. Over the last two decades, the disease has caused its share of challenges, but Scott has never allowed MS to define who he is as a person. He has never asked the question, "Why me?" He's an amazing role model to our two teenage boys, and he has taught me how to be a better person, friend, parent and marriage partner.
After Scott was diagnosed, I realized that while I couldn't simply snap my fingers and make everything better, there was something I could do to move us closer to a world free of this disease. In 1999, I embarked on an incredible three-day, 50-mile journey called Challenge Walk MS. After 50 long miles, I experienced sore, tired muscles and feet, but as I crossed the finish line, all the pain washed away. Never in my life had I felt so strong, so powerful, so hopeful or so brave.
When I was diagnosed with MS in 1998, I had no idea what my life would be like going forward. But in 2001, my brother David participated in the first MS Challenge Walk in Charlotte, NC and TEAM FAIRBAUGH was born. Since 2002, I have walked or volunteered in 14 Challenge Walks in Maryland, Washington DC and North Carolina. In that time, I have raised over $150,000 for the National MS Society and in 2012, I was inducted into the Maryland Chapter's Fundraising Hall of Fame.
TEAM FAIRBAUGH's motto is, "You'll never walk alone", and over these last 12 years, I never have. I tell all of my donors that they are with me every step of the way on what I call my Journey of Hope, along with many family members, dear friends, and strangers who walk with me and have become Challenge Walk friends along the way.
The Challenge Walk events enable me to meet so many wonderful people year after year. But, as we always say, we look forward to the day where we no longer have to walk or raise money, but instead, can throw a big party to celebrate a world free of MS!
I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis more than 30 years ago. Those early years were filled with pain, disappointment, fear and anger. But over time, I came to realize how pointless it was to live drowning in self-pity. Nothing good could come of it. The reality of self-actualization marked the beginning of a lifelong mission to ending MS forever.
As a person with MS, I consider supporting the MS movement through volunteering and fundraising not as a choice, but as a responsibility — an obligation to be a part of the destiny we all hope to see. Challenge Walk MS has become a metaphor for my life. I use fitness to endure the rigors of MS and I fundraise to fulfill a destiny — to live in a world free of MS.
I started participating in the Southern California Challenge Walk MS in 2003. At the time, I was just looking for the personal challenge; I had no connection to multiple sclerosis. I called my sister, JoAnn to see if she would join me. JoAnn had a friend who had recently been diagnosed with MS, which sealed the deal.
The first year was exciting; walking from Carlsbad to San Diego was definitely something to be proud of. By year two, we had seven girlfriends that accepted the challenge. As I continued to fundraise, I found that I was connected to MS: a girl friends mom, another's sister, a daughter and many more. I began to hear about what the National MS Society was doing for these individuals by providing classes, support groups and needed equipment. My fundraising was making a difference.
Since 2003, Sole Sisters (now Heart & Sole Sisters) has raised in excess of $150,000. I have personally logged 750 Challenge Walk Miles. In 2011 I signed up for the Charleston Challenge Walk in South Carolina and have been doing two walks a year ever since. Heart & Sole Sisters is committed, committed to walking until we can put an end to this disease. When that day comes, we will continue to walk to celebrate those "who can".
Share your Challenge Walk MS experience by starting a team. Any group of four of more people can form a team, and there are plenty of places to find members, friends, family, your company or your community.
Challenge Walk MS is a fully supported event. You’ll find the support we provide to be nothing short of remarkable. You train and fundraise, with our help every step of the way, and we’ll take care of you at the event. Your commitment is to walk and raise funds. Our commitment is to worry about everything else. Our goal is to make your journey fun and as hassle-free as possible so that during and after each day of physical and emotional extremes, you can relax with each other and enjoy the feelings of accomplishment and fulfillment that you have worked so hard to achieve.