Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Word of the day: ONE

by Jackie Piper

One.  As in “the power of one”.

Have you ever felt helpless in the face of a monumental problem or overwhelmed by the sheer complexity of a challenge? Has anyone ever told you that there’s just not much you, as one individual, can do to effect change?  If you are involved in Challenge Walk MS, you already have thumbed your nose at the notion that “ONE” person can’t make a difference. Did you know that you are walking in the footsteps of one very remarkable person?

Meet Sylvia Lawry.

Sylvia was born in 1915 in New York and as a young college student, had a younger brother who developed MS. Her family searched for years without success for treatments and cures. Sylvia finally took it upon herself to place a small ad in the New York Times seeking “anyone recovered from” MS to contact her.

The response to her ad demonstrated to her that there was a tremendous need for an organization to coordinate and finance research seeking a cause, treatment and a cure for MS.

This ONE young woman gathered a group of researchers in March of 1946 and founded what would become the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

The amazing efforts of Sylvia Lawry, ONE lone individual, brought forth an organization that today has chapters serving all 50 states and devotes more than $48 million a year to support over more than 380 research projects dedicated to creating a world free of MS.

Go to the website of the NationalMS Society and click on “Leadership” to learn more.

Thank you, Sylvia!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Look Stylish, Stay Warm

Order this year’s Challenge Walk MS special wearable: a zippered, hooded sweatshirt with ribbed cuffs and hem for stylish, on-the-go comfort. 

It comes in vintage orange with the Challenge Walk MS logo embroidered on the front. Unisex sizes small-3X. Cost: $30. 

Orders are due by 8 a.m. on September 11 in order to be available for pick up at check-in.

CLICK HERE to order.

The Word of the day: FEET

by Jackie Piper


This is how your feet feel BEFORE you begin the Challenge Walk. See how happy they are? You would never suspect how complicated those sweet little tootsies are that carry us along for miles and miles. Here are some fun feet facts for you:

  • Your feet have 26 bones, 33 joints, and more than 100 tendons, muscles, and ligaments.
  • The World Record for the biggest foot is a whopping size 28 ½. (Try finding that at Payless!)
  • The foot accounts for 25% of all the bones in the human body.
  • Your foot has 250,000 sweat glands.  

Madeline Albrecht holds the Guiness World Record for the most feet smelled: 5,600. She worked for Dr. Scholls. (And I whined about my job.)

Now aren’t you feeling a little more respect for you feet? Be sure to pamper them on Challenge Walk weekend with fluffy slippers, lots of dry socks, foot soaks and a black marker to draw new “happy faces” on your toes.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

25 Words for 25 Days

by Jackie Piper

The Word of the day:  CHALLENGE

verb: to confront or defy boldly
noun: a difficult task or problem : something that is hard to do
        : an action, statement, etc., that is against something
        : a refusal to accept something as true, correct, or legal

I like Merriam-Webster’s definition of the word “challenge.”  It certainly describes the National MS Society Challenge Walk MS. Are we confronting the reality of MS? Check.  Are we defiant in the face of that reality? Check, check.  And there is no arguing that the Challenge Walk is difficult, hard and an absolute refusal to accept something as true.  That “something” is the idea that we are powerless to change what it means to have MS.

For the 25 days leading up to the Challenge Walk I would like to offer 25 words that define what “Challenge Walk” means to me. Maybe you have some words too!

August 13 Conference Call Recap

2014 registration numbers as of August 12, 2014:
128 walkers
3 virtual walkers
20 Super Crew
33 crew

$1,500 fundraising minimum is due August 29
$2,500+ is due by August 29 to be included in the Celebration Club

Jamie Wolf: This will be Jamie’s second year participating. 
Jamie Wolf
Why did you get involved?  A friend asked Jamie to be on her team.  She also takes care of MS patients as Nurse Practitioner.  Jamie is inspired by the strength and resolve of everyone participating in Challenge Walk, no matter their connection.

Important things to remember for the weekend:
  • Pack a half-day bag.
  • Take advantage of the medical staff before and during the day’s walk.  Don’t feel like you have to push through it – stop and get the blister looked at; ask for stretches to help with muscle fatigue and cramping.
  • Stay hydrated!

Anne Rogalski: This will be Anne’s seventh year participating.
Anne Rogalski (right) with her sister Nicole
Why do you stay involved?  Because of everyone out there raising money and participating in these events, Anne is able to walk 50 miles each year.  “It’s hard and you’ll be tired, but I really enjoy seeing old friends and it’s genuinely a good time.”

Important things to remember for the weekend:
  • Every three miles there are teams who have rest stops set up and compete for “Best Rest Stop” throughout the weekend.  Everyone has a chance to vote for their favorite rest stop on Sunday at lunch.
  • Massage! Best $30 you’ll spend on Fri & Sat – they know what you’ve just done and make it possible for you to get up the next morning.
  • Find a good pair of shoes and socks; change them every 10 miles.
  • The whole team of support staff and volunteers take great care of you and you never feel alone.

Next Conference Call: The last for Challenge Walk MS 2014!
Wednesday, September 10 at 6 p.m.
Dial 888-279-3775 and use code 4804#
Don’t miss your final chance to learn all the details leading up to Challenge Walk MS weekend and have your questions answered. It’s especially important for all first-time participants be on the call.

July 9 Conference Call Recap

As of July 8, 114 walkers are registered for 2014 (2 of the 114 are virtual walkers).

There are currently 19 Super Crew members. (Super Crew members are dedicated volunteers who pay the registration fee, raise the $1,500 pledge minimum and receive all the same benefits as walkers. These volunteers assist with a variety of responsibilities throughout the Challenge Walk weekend.)

There are currently 25 crew members. (Crew members are not required to pay the registration fee, but they are encouraged to fundraise. Overnight accommodations and meals are not included for crew members. However, those who raise $750 will receive Friday night lodging and participate in the Friday evening celebration dinner.)

One way you can help increase attendance is with the special Bring-a-Buddy offer. Recruit a new walker or Super Crew member to join you at Challenge Walk MS and you’ll each receive an orange-a-licious spirit basket at check in. This basket will be packed full of fun items, you’ll be the envy of other participants AND have someone special with you to enjoy the weekend.

Lastly, remember the $1,500 fundraising minimum must be submitted by August 29, 2014 with the final fundraising deadline being September 22, 2014.

Our Co-Host: Jane Jacobson:
Doug & Jane Jacobson
  • Jane has MS and is a five-year Challenge Walk veteran. Last year she walked with her husband, Doug, and made many new friends throughout the weekend.
  • The first year participating in Challenge Walk MS, Jane was a Super Crew member.  After the inspiring weekend, she knew she could join the others on the course as a walker.
  • Her husband, Doug, walks 50 miles each year, while Jane walks 10 miles each morning for a weekend total of 30.

Our Co-Host: Jackie Piper
  • Jackie is also a five-year Challenge Walk veteran and participates with her team, MS Warriors.
  • Jackie Piper (left) with members of her team
  • Each year, Jackie completes 50 miles during the Challenge Walk MS weekend.
  • To train prior to the event she aims for a goal of walking seven days a week, which typically means she’ll lace up her shoes at least five of those seven days.

Training Tips From the Veterans:
Typically Jane and Doug walk a five mile training route – 2.5 miles to Starbuck’s and 2.5 miles back.  This is a good distance for them and allows for a nice mid-way break if needed.

Jackie follows a similar schedule to the program on the Challenge Walk MS website, but limits the longer mileage until shortly before the event weekend.  Then she takes the last few days off to rest.
  • The Mapmywalk app is a great tool to use for training or a pedometer or Fitbit is also suggested to log steps and mileage.

Listen to your body while training and during the weekend! Training every day works for some, while others may need a day of rest in between.

For the weekend-of here are some suggestions from the veterans to help keep you on the road:
  • Bring snacks to enjoy nightly before dinner.
  • Beverages help keep you hydrated – protein shakes, Gatorade, etc.  KEEP HYDRATED!
  • Heating pads or ice post-walk each day.
  • Over the counter pain reliever to keep ahead of any pain, rather than waiting for the pain to start.
  • Take advantage of all of the volunteers and staff available during the weekend – massage therapists, medical staff, SAG vehicle volunteers.  Don’t try to be “big and brave.” They are here to make your experience the best possible! Benefit from the pampering that is there to make you more comfortable!

Things to bring to help improve your weekend-of experience (take advantage of your Half-day Bag and consider including many of these items):
  • Bring a friendly smile – this is a wonderful rime to connect with other walkers while walking or at any time during the weekend.  The impact of the shared experience is one you don’t get very often!
  • Two pairs of shoes that have been broken in during training.  Visit a walking store to get fitted correctly – look for a tighter ankle and a wide toe box.  Sometimes it takes a pair or two to find one that really works best for you.
  • Plenty of moisture-wicking socks that aren’t too tight (decreases circulation).
  • Bodyglide works well for some, while Baby Powder is also a good substitute.
  • Wear layers!  Pants, shorts, long-sleeved t-shirts, t-shirts, light jacket, lightweight rain gear, etc.

Thank you all for being a part of this year’s second Challenge Walk MS conference call. If anyone has questions please feel free to contact us:
Nichole Shaffer – 262-369-4416
Jamie Baker – 262-369-4435
Jane or Jackie – Please reach out to Nichole or Jamie and they can connect you.

Monday, July 7, 2014

A Mattress for My Feet

by Jackie Piper

Let me begin my post today by sharing that I am old. Actually, according to one of my grandchildren, I’m “really old.” I am also not athletic. I am also NOT slim or svelte. This is just some essential background information that is part of the story of how I came to find my most favorite walking shoes of all time.

Last year at about this time I was in the market for a new pair of walking shoes. I get a new pair every summer as my “back up” pair as I train for Challenge Walk MS. We were at the Mall of America en route to our vacation spot and I ventured into the Nike store where there were literally hundreds of shoes on display.  

“Surely, I can find an awesome pair of shoes in here!” I said to myself.

Well, don’t call me Shirley because I never could find anyone to wait on me, perhaps because I am (a) old, (b) not athletic, or (c) not thin or svelte.

So….I strolled out the door and around the Mall until I came upon the Sketcher store. I’ve always thought of Sketchers as being for skateboarders. Not sure why. However, I was immediately approached by an enthusiastic young male clerk who was approximately 12 years old. (What are the labor laws in Minnesota??)  

I shared with him that I was looking for a pair of very comfortable walking shoes to train and use for a very long walk.  When I told him how long of a walk, he was appropriately impressed. 

He immediately and decisively announced, “I know just the shoes you need.”

With a flourish he brought me a pair of shoes that were lighter than air and said these magic words:
“They have Memory Foam inside, like the mattress.”

I put them on and fell in love right there in the Sketcher/skateboarder store in front of the 12-year-old... with a pair of shoes. I wore them to train thereafter and when I got home from vacation, ordered a second pair.

Last year was my fourth Challenge Walk, and I’ve got to tell you: I may be old, non-athletic and slightly overweight, but for 50 miles, I had some very happy feet!

Jackie will help host the next Challenge Walk MS conference call on Wednesday, July 9, and share helpful training tips. To join the call, dial 888-279-3775, and use conference code 4804#. The call begins at 6 p.m. Additional calls will be held August 13 and September 10.