Like elves in the night, or actually in the early hours of the morning, this trio sets out to turn ordinary telephone poles into towers of power. They plant “flower beds” of twirling, multi-colored pinwheels and attach balloons to fences. They place rows of signs with team names on them: Blister Buddies, Feet 2 Defeat MS, and MS Action Heroes. Before most folks are awake, they’ve lined the route of the annual Challenge Walk MS on Cape Cod, sponsored by EMD Serono and Pfizer, with a formidable tool in this endurance test: inspiration.
“We are out here to inspire them to keep going,” said Sue Tidd, Director of Development for the National MS Society in Maine.
Tidd teams up with Renee Shea, Vice President of Operations and Kim Blanchard, New Hampshire Development Manager from the Society’s Greater New England Chapter each year to form the “Rah Rah Patrol” for Challenge.
“Each year when I do it, it makes me feel good,” said Shea. “The walkers see (the decorations) and hopefully it makes them smile.”
Blanchard said all this fun, isn’t always easy. They have to negotiate around poison ivy along the road, stay out of the way of traffic, and of course handle what Mother Nature brings each day.
“Having a breezy day, a windy day, brings its own set of challenges with balloons,” said Blanchard.
It sure does, but these ladies know, it’s much more difficult on the walkers, so they are more than willing to risk a little itchy poison ivy to help the hundreds of MS Challenge walkers go 3 days, 50 miles closer to a cure!
New volunteers and walkers are always welcome at www.MSchallengewalkcapecod.org.