NAMIWalks 2009 update:
Our team raised $975 for NAMIWalks for the Minds of America, and specifically for National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Fox Valley, our community's local affiliate of NAMI in Appleton. From our hearts, we thank all those who supported us financially, in spirit, prayerfully, in thought, etc.
We'll post a photo of our team later, as soon as Josh scans it in to our computer. (The volunteer Walk photographers took free photos of each team that were ready for the teams to take home after the event.)
Random Reasons NAMIWalks 2009 Rocks
-Our team exceeded its $500 goal by $475! We'll find out soon whether our affiliate hit or exceeded the overall $125,000 goal.
-The crisp fall weather was great for a 3.3 mile-or-so Walk.
-It didn't rain!
-There was a NAMI Knight... Fighting stigma, perhaps? I thought perhaps the Knight (a Walk-er dressed in blue-and-yellow cardboard armor with what looked like a huge cardboard sword and maybe a shield) was going to say "Ni!" to kick off the Walk. :)
-Some wonderful volunteer crafted NAMI bookmarks for any Walker to take.
-I had a breakfast of Fritos, fried donuts and candy. Only at the NAMI Walk do I have snacks like that before 10 a.m. ...
-There were wonderful conversations and catching up with dear friends. It's awesome to have an hour or so where you can't do anything _but_ talk with friends! Team, you rock.
-We celebrated the Walk with our traditional post-team brunch at a local diner (I had an omelet with veggies to compensate for the early morning candy.)
-I always love watching Mihret ride on her daddy's shoulders - now she's old enough that I don't worry so much about her falling off of them. She did great on the Walk, and Josh was a wonderful Mihret-carrier and Mihret-pusher throughout (When she was on his shoulders, I pushed the stroller, which actually gave my muscles an interesting workout of sorts in addition to Walking.)
-I narrowly avoided taking a pie in the face today... NAMI volunteers, staff and board members raised about $400 in an internal contest/fund-raiser to support the Walk. We all decorated money-collecting receptacles and waited for people to stop in the NAMI office and fill them up... the top two or three people with the most change etc. collected get to "pie" (put whipped cream in the face of) the two or three people with the least change etc. I'm on the docket to get "pied"... but organizers decided to do the "pie-ing" at a different NAMI function for some reason.
-It was awesome to literally feel the love from all the Walkers assembled there. The NAMI community is very special and the way to advocate, bust stigma and educate is to be visible! We all were very visible today. Team Serenity already is looking forward to next year.