The Colorado RESOLVE Walk of Hope launched on a sunny, cloudless, hot Saturday morning in a park a short commute from downtown Denver. This was the second annual walk, hosted by RESOLVE, and organized by a team of local volunteers.
I volunteered for the first annual walk last year, and was excited to again this year. We had a strong chair heading up the volunteer team who was extremely enthusiastic, organized, and paid attention to details. What more could you ask for?
The volunteers arrived at the sight bright and early at 7:00am and immediately got to work.
I was the activities director, which meant I directed the rock wall, face painting, massage chair, photo booth, bouncy castle, and Home Depot people to their appropriate spots. I also assisted the vendors to locate their booths. The rock wall is always a hit at these events!
When everyone had been appropriately directed, I took some time to check out the Commemorative Banner. This was the first banner of its kind, and Colorado was its first stop. It will travel to every Walk of Hope throughout the country. How amazing is that?
I got choked up as I wrote the words “In loving memory of Baby Noonan, January 2012-April 2012. Forever in our hearts.” And I’m getting choked up now.
You see, this is why I continue to volunteer.
To reach out.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, the pain lessens. Yes, it does. But it doesn’t go away.
I get it. I doesn’t matter that I didn’t experience exactly what someone else did. Or that I might not have gone through as much as another. Or that I went through more than someone else. It hurts just the same.
The back of fellow volunteer Jessica’s shirt says it all.
Before the race began, a representative from RESOLVE gathered everyone around the stage to reiterate their mission statement, to thank everyone for raising money for infertility, and to hand out awards.
This participant won the Most Creative Team Name, “From Mountains to Motherhood.” She also won the Fundraising Superstar award. You must check out her journey and her mission here. She is a warrior.
I joined the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine’s team, which won the Most Corporate Team Members award. I was proud to be part of such a remarkable team of people. It was an honor to meet people who had also utilized the facility, or were currently utilizing it.
There were a number of activities for kids again this year; the rock wall, Home Depot bird house painting, bouncy castle, face painting.
The traumatized, empathetic part of me wondered how this might feel for those who are still struggling. Do they see the kids and have hope? Or do they feel despair because of what they don’t have? I’m not certain, but I assume it was a mixture of both.
Eventually the walk began. We walked one mile in support of those who are experiencing, have experienced, or will experience infertility – a series of small steps, each one filled with hope and a reminder that no one with infertility should walk alone. One Morning, One Mile, One Community.
I walked and will continue to walk.
I volunteered and will continue to volunteer.
For this cause is near and dear to my heart, and no one should feel alone.
A passionate infertility advocate, Jen Noonan destigmatizes the shame and guilt surrounding infertility and miscarriage. Her debut memoir, In Due Time, is available on Amazon at amzn.com/0996308601
Images courtesy of Lily Red Studio.