Saturday was RESOLVE's Arizona Walk of Hope, and it was an awesome experience. I knew I was excited, but wasn't entirely sure of what all to expect. My mom and MIL walked with me, as did my beloved puggles, Paisley and Clover. We left a little later than intended, and got a tad lost, which stressed me out. But we finally made it. The dogs were jumpy in a totally new situation, but about 1/4 mile in, they calmed down and it was really very nice that they were there. The walk was really nice. It was a leisurely pace, and there were about 220 walkers. There were IF graduates there with their hard-won children, and a lot of other people brought their dogs. There were both teams and individuals. Thanks to the generous support of our family and friends, I ended up as the second highest fundraiser, and I was so proud.
As we walked, there were signs with facts about both IF and about how the money raised at the event could help, such as "$500 provides training and support to start a new group." Tucson is getting it's support group up and running in April which will be a couple's group led by Denny and Lisa - Denny wrote Almost A Father about his IF journey to achieve pregnancy with their daughter, Elliana. So the timing felt especially poignant. It was kind of amazing how my mom and MIL were unfamiliar with some of these stats. I've been spouting them for what feels like forever now, but they had a hard timing believing that 1 in 8 couples is affected. Well, it's true, folks, which is why we need to raise awareness. Not only so people realize what a very real problem this is for so many people, but so that we can start to teach compassion and etiquette and feel that our disease is accepted and cared about and not minimized or viewed as being on par with wanting a nose job.
After the walk, I got to meet Denny, and there were awards for the funniest shirt ("My Baby Survived the Ice Age"), best group name, the most money raised (yay, Tonya!) She led my group before I did, and moved to CO so it was great to see her), and a raffle drawing. Arizona Senator Linda Lopez was honored for her pro-family work in Arizona and her impact on our community. Representatives from fertility centers were there, and they were thanked - along with our community advocates - for stopping the advancement of SB 1376. After the formal stuff, I had the opportunity to meet Betsy, whom I've been corresponding with in regard to my desire to be a more formal advocate. I also got to meet other members of Resolve's team, and I'm looking forward to joining their efforts and making an impact in Arizona.
All in all, it was a terrific experience. It's amazing to be among a large group of people who understand where you've been and there was a feeling of being at home with them, even if I didn't actually meet them. I encourage everyone to particpate in a walk in their area. If there isn't one, and you'd like to spearhead the planning of one or even just find out what would be involved in helping to start one, feel free to contact me.