Sunday, May 26, 2013

Making History

So today was the NMO 5 km walk/run. It was the first dedicated NMO event ever held and when I say that, I mean worldwide! We were making history in British Columbia this morning! These were our great t-shirts and I can tell you that it was a sea of green in the park today!

The event raised $20,000 the last I heard, but there were some late registrations and a number of on site sales-t-shirts, awareness bling and lunches as well as donations, so the final tally has yet to come in.

I was volunteering at the registration/check-in table, so I got to greet everyone who was picking up their race packages. Lots of smiling face, despite the early start. You can see one of our generous corporate sponsors, MV-1 Canada's info which I personally put it into the hands of our participants. So happy to help promote such a great company that has been so kind to me & the NMO community!

Very happy to have Annie Kuan (left) and Dr. Tony Traboulsee (right) joining us. Annie is the one who helps keep the NMO community connected. She is the 
Research Coordinator for the NMO Clinic & Research Program. Dr. T is a neurologist and NMO specialist at UBC. Both super nice people who are working hard to make a difference in the lives of NMO patients.

I was also so pleased to have Fin Donnelly, our MP and Selina Robinson, member of our city council join us as well. It was so great they could take time out of their busy schedules to come join us and show their support.

Here's the sea of green, as seen from the stage. It was a beautiful sight.

We had an opening ceremony. Nancy Reimer, whose 9 year old son Riley has NMO organised the event, so she spoke first about their journey from Riley's diagnosis at 7 years old to today's event. After that, I spoke very briefly about my experience and then about the importance of awareness, advocacy and the work NMO researchers and scientist are doing. Follow that, another NMO patient, Valerie Shalay (hope I got her name right!) spoke about coming to terms with her diagnosis and then Dr. T spoke about his work with NMO patients and the need for the government to cover NMO drugs.

Riley and another little girl (sorry, I don't remember her name!) the two youngest NMO patients cut the ribbon at the start line...

...and then the runners and walkers were off!

While everyone was off on the course, volunteers organized the door prizes. Our sponsors were very generous and there were lots of great goodies to be had!

There was a cheering section at the finish line to encourage everyone to finish strong and there was lots of cake and fruit for everyone afterwards.

It was a really wonderful event. Everything ran smoothly, everyone had a great time and I got to meet some really interesting people. Nancy did a fantastic job organizing this event and I think she can be really, really proud of the work she's done.

As I was leaving, I came across this:

I am not entirely sure if this was for real, but it made me laugh. I am wondering if Dr. T is aware that for $2500 he's expected to sell hot dogs out of the back of a vintage car, while wearing a speedo?!? Well I guess that's one way to fund a cure!

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