We all should never forget that sometimes those who appear weak are actually the incredibly strong.
After months of blogging about it, creating YouTube videos, and coating my personal Facebook page with the links, this weekend was 2016 National MS Society Chesapeake Challenge Walk, a 2-day 50K event benefiting the National MS Society. This was my sixth year being apart of the event, and I spend most of the months leading up to the weekend eagerly anticipating its arrival.
In my six years, however, I have never seen anything like the moment captured in this picture.
At this year's event, they brought back what was called the 'pre-finish" where we had lunch and waited for everyone to cross the pre-finish line before finishing the walk. Once everyone had made it back and gotten a chance to grab some food after walking all morning (and let's not forget the entire day before), we all walked as one big group for the last mile and crossed the final finish line together.
Those who crossed the finish line first put their arms together to form a tunnel for the walkers behind them to travel through. I truly believe that it was one of those beautiful spontaneous moments because I heard no talk of it before we left. As we all walked through the tunnel and reached the end we added ourselves to the line for those walking behind us.
There was a moment when we all started to cheer and thought we were finished, but then something amazing happened.
The folks there at the event with MS who were in wheelchairs and scooters lined up to go through the tunnel, too, and we immediately put our hands back in the air. Throughout the walk, these are the folks that inspire us, even motivate us. Some of them rode their scooters through the tunnel while others pushed rolling walkers. Many whom I had seen only in a wheelchair proved, as much to themselves as to all of us, that they were strong enough to make it down that tunnel on their own two feet.
Up until this moment, I had only seen this woman seated in her chair. Like me, she has attended this event for years and I am fairly certain that statement is still true. And yet, with the help of her husband who had pushed her for two days, she stood up and turned around.
It was now her turn to push her own chair.
Readers, I have tears in my eyes just writing about that moment, just as I had tears in my eyes as all of these walkers came through the tunnel. I call them walkers because that's what they are. Their feet may not have pounded all fifty kilometers but they pounded the most important stretch.
There was strength in that tunnel.
There was community in that tunnel.
There was love in that tunnel.
When the time comes to start fundraising for next year's event, I will let you all know. These people right here are who you are supporting. We are not only looking for a cure, though many of us eagerly anticipate that day as well. We are supporting and caring for the needs of people who are finding the strength to fight Multiple Sclerosis. Until that cure is found, we have to keep fighting.
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