And Spring is Here

18 03 2010

Its March already and so much is to tell.  Connections are growing on facebook, so many of those voices are now people touched in some way with ALS; interestingly enough, my goal was to make just those kinds of connections to help fuel my efforts with the Iron Horse Challenge, the Tri State Trek, and any others that came.  Its been a profound and touching experience, mixtures of connection and layers of memory, stories of deep bravery, support, and hope, peppered with defiance and profound thoughts. 

 I realize that I have many details to relate about how the ALS Spin-A-Thon turned out.  Photos to post and a positive message to relate in the connections made with John Blais’s family. 

There is of course the loss on one event, as I did not find the energy to fight in the Arnold this year and felt that if I couldn’t create a clear message of what I was fighting for (fighting for the lives that battle ALS), then I really didn’t want to fight for anything less than that. 

There is also the anniversary of Stuart Depp’s passing and my current attempts to join with a few other wonderful cyclists and perhaps ride in Tahoe in November in Stu’s honor, in a cycling event to help kids fighting diabetes. 

 So much to outline and to share.  It occurs to me however that right now, the most profound this I can relate is the vital reverberations of those who are living and breathing with ALS.  Those who I’ve had the honor of contacting through facebook and who are inspiring me everyday to keep the fight in the War on ALS on. 

 Catherine Wolf is one of those fighters.  In the words of John Blais’s Father, she is the true ALS warrior and I deeply agree.  At best, I feel grateful to carry her banner and share her words.  Below is one of her poems.  I can’t think of a better way to announce my commitment to ride in the Tri State Trek this year, nor a better way to remind us all of what we have to lose and what we are losing each day we don’t have a cure.  John’s Dad is right.  We need a stronger word than Hope.  Hoping for a cure is reserved for those who haven’t lived with it.  Its time to FIND a cure.  Here are Catherine’s truthful and penetrating words:

In Another Life

Copyright 2006

 Catherine Wolf

I was a runner in another life

Ran my first 10k on my fortieth birthday

Took first place I have the trophy to prove it

I was one lean, keen, running machine

In another life

I planned a repeat performance on my fiftieth birthday

Fate had other plans for me

Ran in the Race Against Hunger

 Across the Croton dam

At last to the blissful downhill and across the finish line

Took second and third place

I have the medals to prove it

And a photograph

I was a runner for all seasons

Impervious to rain, wind and snow in my Goretex suit

Sweat on my curls turning to ice in 12 degree weather

Running meant freedom

In another life

We’d take off for the wooded trails of Pocantico

Returning two hours later, hair slicked back, wet from the shower

Leaves crunching under our feet in fall

Mincing steps on new snow in winter

Slogging through mud in early spring

The sweet smell of hay from nearby farms in summer

 As endorphins rose, inhibitions dissolved

We talked of life and love, problems big and small, dreams

The unique but universal camaraderie of runners

We were special, elite

We were runners!

On his departure from baseball Lou Gehrig said

“Today I am the luckiest man on the face of the earth”

Lucky! He was dead in two years

The Iron Horse was laid to rest in a cemetery

Where we, afflicted with his namesake disease,

Gathered, sat in our wheelchairs, held hands, and sang Amazing Grace

One bright May day I was the first to cry

But soon the cemetery echoed with our common grief

Today is my fifty-ninth birthday

 I do NOT feel like the luckiest woman on the face of the earth

That Buddha belly, those shin bones protruding from emaciated legs, feet that serve the sole

function of resting inert on my wheelchair footrests

Betrayed by my body

But I was a runner in another life

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