I temporarily turn over my blog to my brother Paul Keohane. He and my sister Anne Murphy recently headed up a team for the annual 50-mile MS Challenge Walk on Cape Cod. You can visit their page at: www.wheelsandheelsagainstms.com
Hero [heer-oh] n: a person of distinguished courage or ability, admired for brave deeds and noble qualities
What comes to your mind when you hear the word “hero”? Do you think of fictional figures such as Superman, Indiana Jones and Luke Skywalker battling evil forces? Or do you think of actors like Schwarzenegger and Stallone, whose characters come to the rescue on the big screen?
I know where my mind goes. It thinks back a few weeks to three special days at the Cape. I see hundreds of walkers lacing up their sneakers and joining in the fight against Multiple Sclerosis. I think of the many who badly limped into the medical tents. And, despite nasty blisters and fully bandaged legs and ankles, they continued onward, determined to complete their 50-mile journey.
I think of the hundreds of crew members who lined the routes. I see men and women on bicycles and motorcycles who rode alongside us, shouting words of encouragement and making sure we were safe and hydrated. There are people at the rest stops cheering us on and keeping us fed, laughing, smiling and motivated. I think of the medical staff and the massage therapists donating their time and energies to keep our feet patched up and our worn muscles loose.
I think of my sister Anne and her hand-pedaled bike. Despite two very warm days (a big negative to those with MS), she powers forward with a smile and a determination I will not soon forget. Anne, you are definitely my hero.
I think of Day 3, when we changed into our final shirts for our triumphant march into the Hyannis Village Green. Red shirts now surround me, symbolizing those who are currently battling MS. These are the same folks who were laughing and chatting with us throughout the 50 miles -- those who, despite their affliction, walked courageously alongside their now blue-shirted companions.
Finally, I think of all of you. I think of the high price of gas throughout the year. I think of all of the bills that need to be paid every month and the many places your money could have been spent. And then I think of donation after donation that were mailed to us or given to our team online. I think of a lofty goal of $14,000 that was not only passed but shattered (we are well over $15,000 and counting!).
You are true heroes of this event. You are what make our efforts matter. Your incredible generosity is what makes it possible for the MS Society to continue their research and to provide those with MS their many valuable services. Anne spoke often throughout the weekend of how thankful she was that these services are available to her.
Our 2006 journey may be over but the battle against MS continues on. But thanks to heroes like you, I know that it is a battle that one day we will win. On behalf of myself, Anne and the rest of Wheels and Heels Against MS, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.