This weekend, Reeve Foundation VP of Development Aimee Hunnewell joined me in Louisville, Kentucky to support our Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon team
. It's always a looong day on Saturday as the race starts early at 7am and our celebration dinner wraps up around 9pm, but it's full of such great spirit. Multiple times through the day Aimee expressed to me how wonderful it was to meet so many of the Reeve Foundation NeuroRecovery Network
center clients, their families, directors and physical therapists. These are the people we work to raise funds for everyday. Their stories of injury and subsequent triumphs over paralysis are what keep us going. I've loved meeting everyone each year I've been to Louisville and was so glad Aimee got this opportunity too.
We started Saturday morning meeting Joshua Sparks and his mom, Davida. They talked about what the past year has been like for them, and Josh asked if we'd seen Caden yet- who is clearly a big motivation for everyone at Frazier Rehab Institute. Sarah Hay from Ohio State University came by next with her three beautiful kids. Oh, I should say her two kids and Batman (her little guy Maverick was sporting his finest superhero pjs but left the Superman ones at home.) ;)
As more center clients arrived, they awaited their van pickup and we made sure they knew where they needed to go on the course to complete their section of the miniMarathon relay. We met Luke & his mom and brother who drove all the way from Florida. When Caden and his mom Christina arrived, we knew it! He lit up the hotel with his funny faces, high fives and hand clapping to get everyone pumped up. (Check out one of Caden's faces at right.)
As the clients all took off for the course, Aimee and I headed to the finish area tent where refreshments are served. Big thanks to Deep River Snacks
for supplying their amazing chips! We met more clients and families as well as center physical therapists as they finished the mini or relay and before we knew it was time for the annual group photo.
Once everyone cleaned up, we headed over to the team celebration dinner, this year held at the Gillespie. There I was thrilled to be able to meet all three of our Team Reeve All Stars, Paul, Aaron & Grant
who have been traveling the country on their quest to complete 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 weeks for Team Reeve
. The Derby Fest Marathon was #16 on their list. We've exchanged tons of emails and calls already but it was priceless to be able to thank them in person for all they've been doing to raise awareness for our cause. The night ended for me bidding safe travels to Stephen Merrill and his mom and dad, who relocated to Utah just for him to be able to do his rehab at NeuroWorx.
Take a look at some pics
from the weekend and start making your plans to meet us in 2014!
Leigh A. Alspach
Manager, Team Reeve®
Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation