It all started when Jenna Visscher, a community advocate for Ankylosing Spondylitis awareness, started posting and liking some of my re-posts from her WYASO 2013 campaign on FB. At that time I was beginning to have difficulties getting around so I wasn’t thinking about doing any walk for awareness. My thought was to donate money, but Jen kept on telling me how much fun it was and all the things that it can get you up and doing. I thought about forming a team but only know a few people at work who might be interested. I asked some of my co-workers and they “stepped” up and wanted to do it.
My team started with 7 and ended with 15 by the time it was all said and done. Coming up with a name was much more difficulty but one team member had the perfect name and we went for it “A Bunch of AS Kickers”. I thank each one of them for last year because they literally “stepped” their “feet” off!
But… That’s not the reason I walk? I don’t walk or keep track of my steps because this is an awareness project or campaign. I walk because it gets me up and out of bed. (well maybe a little bit of the other too)
Each week during WYASO I looked at my steps. I wasn’t trying to beat my teammates or anyone else for that matter. No I was trying to better myself. Every week I wanted 100 more steps than the week before.
When I came up short I would go out to the garage and walk in circles to make up the steps I had set for myself, and pushed myself to reach my goal. On the last day of the walk I looked at my total steps and was amazed that I accomplished such a feat, because honestly, I didn’t think I could do it.
I remember the days when walking wasn’t a problem. Now I look at others shuffling about and wished I had 1/2 the strength and stamina to do what they do. I know my body can’t do that anymore and I’m ok with that but I’m not going to let keep me from at least trying. I try to not take for granted the fact I can get out of bed and walk around my house, to my car, at work albeit not very smoothly.
I was just like many with AS, when asked to this walk because of my limitations. “I can’t do that I barely get around as it is!”
But I say to you “You can do this! You walk to the bathroom, kitchen, bedroom don’t you? Look at all the steps you take in one day just doing that?”
That is what got me going, since I DO walk and do these things, might as well strap on a pedometer and count my steps!
Why do I walk?
For the health and psychological benefits of course! As long as I beat myself on total weekly steps who cares?
But all kidding aside, I walk to raise awareness for those who don’t have a voice and/or ability to step up and walk because they have Ankylosing Spondylitis. I do it because I know if they could do this, they would do it for me.
So what’s your excuse?
If you are interested in walking this year to help raise awareness for AS, there are a whole slew of teams ready to recruit you. Go to Walk Your AS Off website, sign up and get to stepping!
By the way did I mention that we are walking to MARS?