|Laurie Baerwolf and Loretta Herreman at |
Challenge Walk MS 2015
Now that they’ve completed yet another Walk MS, members from the team Rosie’s Buds are looking ahead to September and Challenge Walk MS.
“When you become affected by MS, you want to get more awareness out there and do whatever you can to help the research,” said team captain Laurie Baerwolf, known as L.B. to people in and around Columbus, Wis.
That’s not to say she wasn’t a little apprehensive last year when one of the newest members of her Walk MS team, “Rosie’s Buds,” first suggested they try Challenge Walk MS — the three-day, 50-mile fundraising walk in Door County. (A 30-mile option is also available.)
‘How are we supposed to raise $1,500?’
|“I’ve always been a walker, but the |
farthest I had gone was five miles,”
explained Laurie Baerwolf (right).
She and Loretta Herreman walked
all 50 miles at last year's Challenge
Walk MS and plan to do the same
“Loretta (Herreman) and I were walking along together at Walk MS: Madison and she said ‘I think we should do the Challenge Walk,’” Baerwolf recalled. “I went home, looked it up on online, then called her and said ‘I don’t think so! How are we supposed to raise $1,500?’ That scared the heck out of me.”
But they raised it, through a combination of small do-it-yourself fundraisers and letting friends and family know what they were doing. Baerwolf held a few painting-themed events and sent letters to about 100 people she knew. Herreman estimated that she raised nearly 90 percent of her funds by holding brat fries and selling zucchini bread around town. The team’s namesake, Baerwolf’s daughter-in-law Rosie, who lives with MS, posted a flier at her church.
With the money raised, the realization of what they were about to do hit.
“I’ve always been a walker, but the farthest I had gone was five miles,” Baerwolf explained. “On our drive up to Door County, I told Loretta my goal was to walk 10 miles on Friday. She said, ‘No. We’re going to do 20.’ And we did! It was the most amazing thing I ever thought I’d do!”
But then Saturday morning rolled around, bringing with it another 10- to 20-mile route.
“A man we met on Friday said the hardest part will be the first hour on Saturday,” Baerwolf said. “That’s true. It’s when you think, ‘Oh my. I have to do this again!’”
And yet the duo did, bringing them to Sunday and the final 10 miles. That, Baerwolf said, was no bigdeal.
|“It was victory. It was emotion,” |
Loretta Herreman (right) described of the
moment when she and Laurie Baerwolf
made it to the end of Challenge Walk MS.
“By Sunday you’re so excited because you’ve done 40 miles. You think 10 is a piece of cake.”
Baerwolf and Herrman’s reaction in coming down the winding path near the finish line said it all. The sun was shining. They were smiling. Grasping each other’s hands, they raised their arms to the sky, a sense of accomplishment beaming from their faces.
“It was victory. It was emotion,” Herreman said of that moment. “Walking in, we saw a lot of the people with MS that we met during the weekend, so it was celebrating their victory more than ours – celebrating that they made it.”
Not One and Done
Now Baerwolf and Herreman are looking ahead to their second Challenge Walk MS this fall. They’ve surpassed the $1,500 per person fundraising minimum already, raising a total of $5,465 thanks to a Mardi Gras-themed fundraising night in February.
The evening included auction and raffle items, a band, food and refreshments. The band played for free; the venue – Kesterel Ridge Golf Course – donated the space. Local businesses donated auction and raffle items. Friends and family made desserts to contribute, and the rest of the food proved to be a minimal expense. Proceeds were generated by the advanced and at-the-door ticket sales. Everyone got Mardi Gras beads to wear.
Step On Over to Challenge Walk MS
Laurie and Loretta will be returning to Door County
for Challenge Walk MS in September.Why not join them?
Visit challengewalkMSwi.org, call 262-369-4400
or email info.wisMS@nmss.org to sign up.
Baerwolf is planning a poker run this summer to raise additional funds, explaining that she and Herreman had set a goal of doubling the size of their Challenge Walk MS team this year by bringing two more people with them. She’s hoping that will be her daughter-in-law and 14-year-old granddaughter.
“We will continue to do Walk MS in Madison because our whole entire family does it,” Baerwolf said. “But I just turned 55, so I’ll also do Challenge Walk MS as long as I can. We need to do whatever we need to do to help people with MS get whatever they need.”