Monday, October 5, 2009

God smiled...

This weekend, I finally got to go to the Long Island Fun Walk for PH.  It was the fifth year that group leaders Joanne Schmidt and Mary Bartlett had organized the event.  It has grown considerably from it's first year...last year $70,000 was raised for PH research.

With rain forecast, there was some doubt how and whether the walk would take place.  Indeed, the 11:00am opening of registration at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow was preceded by thunderstorms and a couple of hors after the close, my daughter, Nina, and I were driving through flooding on the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn.  During the event, though, all was dry and a great crowd, numbering over 300 turned out.  Family teams wore T-shirts in honor or in memory of loved ones.  Lots of volunteers, including PHA's Jess McKearin and her husband John, worked the registration and information booths.  One team had raised $10,000 in sponsorships and donations for PH research, another $6,000 and on and on.  The spirit was great with kids running around all over the place. There was a board posted with pictures of friends and relatives who had passed.

Joanne and Mary opened the program at noon with a huge baloon arch in the background.  Joanne read the names of patients who had passed and were being remembered.  As she concluded, children released one balloon for each.  It was an emotional ceremony.  . An award was given to Dr. Adam Hurewitz in thanks for all he and his staff at the Winthrop Hospital PH Center have done to support patients.and this event. His comments turned to all that is happening in the field.

I said a few words about PHA's research program and was pleased to give Joanne and Mary recognition awards for their years of good work.  Joanne is als a former PHA board member and Mary, a Nurse Practitioner who has recently become an executive committee member of PH Resource Network, PHA's membership section for over 760 nurses and other allied health professionals.

The walk started with everyone going therough the balloon arch and walking two laps around Field 4.  Dr. Hurewitz and I walked together for awhile and we found out that we overlapped as students at State U. of NY at Stony Brook.  Small world.

The event closed with the younger kids lining up to draw winning tickes for over 35 great raffle prizes.  It was a terrific day and I'm really glad I was able to attend.

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