Monday, December 30, 2013

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Merry Christmas!

A very Merry Christmas to you and yours!!  At this time of year, I'm always reminded of the many blessings that I have been given.  When I take the time to think about it, I am in absolute awe of how God has provided and continues to provide.  Amid the hustle and bustle of the season, it's so good to remember how blessed we are and to think about those with whom we may be able to share our blessings.

I know it has been a while since my last post, but believe me when I tell you that things have certainly not been stagnant.  The past few weeks, I've spent quite a bit of time planning for the hike by making and editing equipment lists, looking over maps and talking with a couple of experienced hikers.  I have now nailed down the route that I'll be taking this summer.  I've decided to backpack the entire portion of the trail in Pennsylvania beginning at the Delaware Water Gap, hiking to the Maryland state boarder and doubling-back about 20 miles to the Michaux Forrest or Pine Grove Furnace State Park to the west of Gettysburg in order to complete the 250 mile goal that I have set.  I've also started collecting equipment and supplies that I'm going to need along the journey.  Unfortunately, my schedule and the early snow has forced me to move inside to train for the time being.  I'm hoping to get outside again in the next couple of days since it is going to be a bit warmer.

Thank you for reading!  May God richly bless you this Christmastide and in the coming year!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Training Update: Weeks 2-4

Week two was a little lax.  My schedule made it a bit difficult to get out and complete a lot of physical training, but I busied myself working on equipment lists and working on writing out a training schedule to keep me on top of things.  I've pretty much decided on the route that I'm going to take, I just have to finish calculating total distance.  I've also begun reaching out to my coworkers, talking about Progeria, the promising research being done, and of course Nathan and Bennett.

This week its full speed ahead!  My goals for the next two weeks are to increase my distance on flat ground to 10-12 miles/day and possibly add some weight to begin acclimating my body to carrying the weight of a pack.  I'm going to try to take advantage of the mild weather for as long as I can and hope to get a day hike in before the temperatures turn too cold and wet.  I'll also be increasing the intensity and duration of my strength training and core training programs; adding more transverse plane movements to my lifts and more balance and stability exercises to my core components.  

I'm really looking forward to the next few weeks (and months for that matter)!!  A big Thank You to everyone for your thoughts, prayers and encouragement!  I know there will be many days ahead when I will rely on them to lift my spirits when I'm feeling tired and discouraged.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Training: Week 1

Training has commenced!  I began on Monday morning with a 4 mile walk to begin breaking in my boots.  2 miles in, I developed some minor blisters, so I decided to stop after 4 miles, take care of the blisters and try to get out again after work.  I managed to get 2 miles in while at work, but could't go out afterwards because of darkness.  Today was much better.  I got a couple of miles in while I was searching the grounds for my work issued phone that has mysteriously vanished, and then got 3 more in after work.  I'm not up to that 10-15/day mark yet, but I'm definitely making progress and the boots are not irritating my feet too much anymore.  Tomorrow, I'm going to push it a bit and try to get 8 miles in, in the morning.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

HIKE4HOPE: The Beginning of an Exciting Adventure

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog! I'd like to tell you a little bit about HIKE4HOPE and what has led me to start writing this blog.

A little over a week ago, I had the privilege of attending a retreat with a wonderful group of women from the First Presbyterian Church of Ambler. Our theme for the weekend was "Journey Forward in Faith," and over the weekend we learned about the journeys of many women in the Bible. We also learned about each other's faith journeys, and prayed for God to use us in the lives of others as we continue on our journeys. Before leaving on Sunday, Anne stood and stirred all of our spirits as she spoke to us about Phyllis' two little boys, Nathan and Bennett, who have Mandibulolacral Dysplasia Type B, a type of Progeria.

Progeria is a premature aging disorder that results in many of the typical symptoms of aging and ultimately results in a shortened lifespan. Although they are usually born looking healthy, most children with Progeria begin to display many characteristics of Progeria within the first year of life. Nathan and Bennett are extremely small for their age and suffer from a significant lack of subcutaneous fat, wormian bones in their skull, clubbed fingers, acroosteolysis (reabsorption of the finger tips), stiff joints, muscle weakness, hair loss, developmental delays and delayed teeth eruption. As children get older, they suffer from osteoporosis, generalized atherosclerosis, cardiovascular (heart) disease and stroke. For children with classic Progeria, the average lifespan is 13 years. Because Mandibuloacral Dysplasia Type B is so rare, the life expectancy of Nathan and Bennett is unknown. World-wide, there are approximately 250 children who have Progeria, and as Anne reminded and prodded us on that Sunday morning, two of them are part of our church family!

As we returned home eager to allow God to use us, many people contributed financially to the Progeria Research Foundation (PRF).  In addition emails began circulating about other ways that we might be able to support Phyllis, Mark, Libby, Nathan and Bennett.  It was out of this eagerness to serve and be used by God that this idea of HIKE4HOPE was born.

As I thought and prayed over what was said at the retreat, I felt a calling to not only raise funds for PRF but also to DO something that would increase awareness about Progeria and honor those children and families who are affected by it.  We so often take for granted that we can do things such as walk, run, and participate in competitive or leisurely athletic activities for extended periods of time.  Children with Progeria are unable to do such activities for long periods of time.  In response, I have pledged to hike one mile on the Appalachian Trail for every child who has Progeria.  These children may not be able to walk or hike one mile but I can, and I can carry them with me in my thoughts and prayers as I go.

Over the next several months I will be fundraising for PRF with a goal of at least $25,000, and will be engaging in activities to help raise awareness about Progeria. Then from around June 20th through mid to late July, I will complete a 250 mile Hiking/backpacking trek on the Appalachian Trail.

I chose to title the event HIKE4HOPE, based upon Jeremiah 29:11, which says, "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord. 'Plans to prosper you, and not to harm you;  plans to give you Hope and a future.'"  A cure is out there somewhere... it just hasn't been found yet.  Join me on this adventure and together we'll help Nathan and Bennett to have a future filled with hope!

I want to invite you to join me in this HIKE4HOPE, and there are many ways in which you can do that.
  • Visit my fundraising site and donate online to PRF.  Click here: HIKE4HOPE Fundraising Site
  • Send a check payable to Progeria Research Foundation, to: HIKE4HOPE, PO Box 641, Flourtown, PA 19031
  • Ask your employer about matching contributions.  
  • Join me for a leg of the hike
  • Join me for the entire hike 
  • Help to raise awareness about Progeria in your local community and workplace
  • Pray for HIKE4HOPE, for Nathan, Bennett & Family, and for researchers to find a cure for Progeria
  • Check this blog periodically to see what's happening
  • Visit Nathan & Bennett's website:  Fighting for their Future
  • There may be other ways to get involved.  Please share your ideas and stay tuned for more information.