So on May 30th, 2015 my husband Giuliano and I took part in the Kidney Walk, a fundraising event for the National Kidney Foundation.
We had to check in at 9am. We approached one of the tables to do that and they went to look for our names to highlight them. Odd I thought they’d have a separate list for team names and members. Nope just personal names. It left we wondering what the point of a team name was. We could have just signed up as individual walkers instead. And in the end it would have benefit us more. For 1. Any gifts/rewards for reaching a certain fundraising goal were based on donations given to you personally and not your team. We only found this out after most of our donations were received. So no fundraising gifts for us. And 2 there was an issue at the entrance. Most people were given orange bands for their writs to show to security to let people in when they opened the gate. But we didn’t get any. We’re still not sure if that’s because we signed up as a Team or because they ran out of wrist bands. Either way it gave the feel of a disorganized event to me, at least for getting people into Turner Field.
There were some tents set up giving away information, pens, snacks, and some other stuff. Another tent had various reasons why you are walking. On the table were paper walking/running signs you could pin to your shirt for your reason to walk. They consisted of: donor, donor’s family, recipient, and hero. No sign for “in memory of” or anything like that. They also had colored leis signifying various reasons for running. Again reasons were: donor, donor family, recipient, family member has kidney disease, you are dealing with kidney disease. None for family or friend died from kidney disease/issues. For something that was already a very emotional event for me, this hurt me badly. It felt like the overwhelming message was this event was for people who needed or gave a kidney. I didn’t feel like I personally belonged there as someone dealing with a loss.
The email we received said the walk would begin at 10am, but it ended up being closer to 10:30. So we had to stand on those bricks you see in the picture above for an hour and a half. That’s not something you want to do before a big walk. It was hurting our feet.
We thought the walk would be on the actual baseball field. Turns out it ended up being through the tunnels under the stands where the concessions and restrooms are. And that was all concrete. Ow. Ow. Ow. We would walk a circle in the tunnel, come out to the entrance, and back into the tunnels. A few places in the tunnels at the beginning had ceiling fans, but for the most part there weren’t any fans blowing air through the tunnel. Our brief breezes were when the tunnel sides opened up to a view of the outside and some air came in to cool us off. And in the beginning of the walk some guys were shouting and whooping very loudly. In a tunnel. It hurt the ears.
I brought my Garmin GPS watch to track our distance as we went. While they said in a previous email that the field was a quarter of a mile, the actual tunnel walk clocked in at just under half a mile. (.47 or .48 miles per loop) So at least we didn’t have to walk as many times around to get to our 2 mile limit. Which was good because between all the standing and walking on concrete, our feet really hurt. But we went on and did our 2 miles as promised to all of our donors.
Speaking of which, thanks to all of you we raised $400 for the National Kidney Foundation!All of you who donated, you are wonderful, fantastic and very much appreciated!
Despite all the confusion and pain, it was great to do this in my father’s memory.