Last Saturday we had the annual NAMI walk! NAMI stands for National Alliance on Mental Illness, and I volunteer for the local chapter and am on the board, too.
Brad was the official photographer for the event, and you can see all his photos (they’ll be posted over the next few months) on our Instagram page @disableddoublet. At the bottom of this blog entry I’ll post my favorites.
I decided to just bring Alice as it’s kinda hard to go over the bumps on the trail at Cherry Park with both dogs on my lap. Alice has only been in a large crowd once before—at Pride. So I thought it’d be a good experience for her.
We woke up super early in the morning to get there as people were setting up. It was chilly so Alice wore her pink and white striped PJs and black bat wings, and I had a rainbow blanket that Allison made for us to wrap her up in, too.
Before the walk started, I mostly followed Brad around while he was taking pictures. When the talks started, I was in the front row. While we were listening, the Rock Hill Drone Guy came up and did a close up on her!
Alice wasn’t super comfortable with the large crowd, but once we started walking, she relaxed. There were several other dogs there with varying degrees of behavior. There was almost a dog fight between some of the dogs. And one group of owners was extremely triggering in their use of excessive force to try to control their dogs. It is always sad to see stressed dogs at these sorts of events who are misbehaving because they are so stressed and their owners don’t handle it well.
But things were better when everyone was moving. We ran into Kakhi, her family, and her friend early on in the walk. So I walked with them! I am including a photo of a stretch of pathway where the sidewalk is raised and behind it is a steep drop off. I wasn’t looking as I was driving my wheelchair and drove off the edge. I couldn’t get back on there, so I tried to go on the grass for a while to a less steep spot. But there wasn’t one before there were a bunch of bushes blocking the way. I tried and tried to get up on the path, but it didn’t work! My wheelchair gave me a tilt warning, so I got out of it to try to get it back up. Eventually some people walking by helped me lift the chair up back onto the sidewalk. It was so embarrassing!
Then not too long after, I drove off the sidewalk again!!! Luckily this time I could get back on easily. I think I’ve learned I shouldn’t drive close to the left side of the sidewalk. That’s the side of my chair I’ve scratched, too. So I don’t have good perception of what’s going on from that side.
We had a really fun time walking and talking! When we got to the shortcut, Kakhi’s friend wanted to take it (it’s not a race and she just needed to be done early). Since it is confusing to follow, I went on it with her. We rejoined the NAMI walkers in about the middle, when before we had been at the end.
There were teen cheerleaders from the local HOSA club greeting us as we returned from the walk.
Then we had the best part of the walk! We met our fundraising goal, so our executive director Robert “went green”. He was sprayed with water, and they handed out green powdered chalk to everyone there. He walked through our corridor as we all threw green chalk on him! It was really fun!
Unfortunately green chalk dust also got all over me, my wheelchair, and Alice! We were standing in the direction the wind was blowing!
Brad got some really lovely pictures of the walk. I chose my favorites, which tend to be close-ups of individuals, dogs, and small groups as well as shots of Robert “going green” and of me and Alice. I am wearing a pink strawberry dress and black leggings with a purple jacket. Brad is wearing a black and white sweater with turquoise and orange accents. The various people are wearing lots of blue and green.