2017 Lupus Colorado Community Walk Success

My name is Linda Garrett and I am on the Lupus Colorado Board of Directors, I was the 2017 Walk Chair and I am a Lupus warrior, a Lupus advocate and a Walk participant.

I wore many hats for the 2017 Lupus Colorado Community Walk. My favorite, of course, was my sparkly Walk Queen tiara. The Walk was so much fun this year – and such a great success. Over 250 Lupus Colorado supporters gathered at Prospect Park on September 16, 2017.  It was a beautiful afternoon for greeting old friends and making new ones, for awareness and advocacy, and for raising valuable funds for Colorado lupus patients.

The Walk was designed to fit the needs and challenges of Lupus patients. As a warrior and participant, I so appreciated the thoughtfulness that went into the planning and execution of this event.

Festivities began at 4:00 p.m. — lupus patients just aren’t at our best early in the morning and we struggle with the Colorado sun at midday. Jay’s Valet graciously provided pedicabs to transport Walk participants from the farthest parking lot – a distance that could have been challenging – to the event. The Wellness Village, new this year, featured 12 vendors and exhibitors who offered products, services and information specifically targeted to patients, caregivers, families, friends and other supporters. Four food trucks provided yummy snacks and water stations everywhere made it easy to meet two of lupus’s primary challenges – eat when you’re hungry and always, always, always stay hydrated.

The pre-Walk games and activities were so important in making this a fun Community event. Seeing the kids with their faces painted and cotton candy in their little hands – oh my, so precious! My Mom, who traveled from Wisconsin for the Walk, loves watching kids blow bubbles and reported seeing the biggest bubble EVER! We saw some fierce competition with the adult games – all in good fun. Our favorite DJ Jeff, who volunteered his services for the second year in a row, provided the soundtrack for the fun. Who else loves classic rock?

The 0.5 mile Walk path featured a beautiful, shady route through the park and had a 0.25 mile shortcut for those warriors and supporters who just weren’t up to a half mile that afternoon. My amazing team, Team L4 – Linda’s Loves Loathe Lupus, all completed the longer route and enjoyed great conversation and camaraderie as we meandered around the park. It seemed everyone was enjoying the afternoon.

While the main focus of the Walk is awareness and advocacy for our warriors, it is also the primary fundraising event to fund Lupus Colorado’s emergency financial assistance fund, which provides Help for Today for lupus patients in Colorado. We set a lofty goal of $45,000 and are currently at an amazing $43,000.  $8,800 of that total was raised through sponsorships from Kramer & Jensen, Dick and Mary Johnson, Rare Patient Voice, Frank and Mary Barry and Jay’s Valet. The rest of those dollars were raised by the 26 teams that participated – 12 teams raised over $500 and the top team has raised $7685 so far!  We are so proud that all of the dollars raised will stay in Colorado to help local patients with medical bills, prescriptions co-pays, emergency groceries, heat to stay warm this winter. There is still time to donate to help us raise that last $2000. You can make a donation until October 31.

So the 2017 Community Walk is now a memory – a good one, at that! We’re already looking forward to the 2018 Walk – stay tuned for details. Let’s make it another grand Saturday in the park!