by Tom Smith, Adult Services & Outreach Coordinator
Windy, wet, cold and rainy are all excellent words. And as often as not, they’re adequate to convey an image–a very familiar image, particularly if you happen to live in San Francisco. And particularly if you happened to attend our WALK on Sunday!
In truth, these words don’t really do justice to the actual scene we confronted on Sunday. It was WAY worse. WALK Sunday featured the kind of weather San Francisco gets five times a year, tops. It was the kind of day where the rain slants in at an angle. A right angle. As in, directly into your face. The kind of day where the rain stops on the surface of your raingear just long enough to take a breather, and then continues on until it reaches the skin. The kind of day where you simply accept that you’re going to get wet and stay wet for a while. Frankly, with the bay not 20 feet away, you’re almost tempted to take a dip because it’s not going to make much of a difference.
But nobody did take a dip! Windy, wet and rainy were words effectively countered by others, like heart, courage, warmth and mutual support. The 17th Annual San Francisco WALK may have taken place in inclement weather, but I would say that, as I walked away, the cockles of my heart were feeling downright toasty.
Almost a hundred people of all ages braved the storm to come out and show their support for people living with hydrocephalus. Many of our people brave a different kind of storm every day of their lives. When you face the day to day possibility of your child needing brain surgery, or when you’re 35 and having a difficult time finding absolutely vital health coverage, or when you’re 75 and have lost three or five years of your life in the fog of undiagnosed NPH, well after all, it’s just a little rain.
I would like to take a moment out to mourn the loss of 50% of the 100-year-old Monterey Cyprus tree that crashed down spectacularly, and REALLY REALLY close to us, shortly after the walk began. That’s what we want to do to hydrocephalus! (You can see the before and after pictures in this post.)
People came from up and down California to participate. Pete Finlayson, founder and prime mover of TeamHYDRO gave a short, powerful speech about the HA’s research initiative and hopes for the future. Russell and Emily Fudge, HA founders, were in attendance as well. Then we were off for the 5K walk which ended (…not literally, but what an image…) in bowls of piping clam chowder to warm the insides. Then a raffle for donated prizes and then…everybody off to home and dry clothes.
As a participant, volunteer and co-chair of this WALK, I cannot begin to express how proud I am to be a part of this courageous community of people who care and are cared for. After an experience like this, with families like these, I can say one thing very clearly: While we may be just beginning the effort to find a cure for hydrocephalus, I know that one day we will get there.