Sunday, September 28, 2014

Recap on Walk for Black Infant Mortality Awareness

These will be my final thoughts on the Walk for Black Infant Mortality Awareness, and my lessons learned from the experience.  First and foremost I want to thank a few folks:
Our walk sponsors:
  • Ergo Baby
  • Jennie Joseph and the JJ Way
  • Home State Health Plans
Other donors who donated to cover walk expenses:
  • Andrea Dixon (funds to rent RV)
  • shoes for walk (Yolanda Fortin and Tasha Reed)
  • Logo and T-shirts (Corey and Racquel Hykes)
  • Misfit Wearable Shines (fitness/mileage tracker)
Human Resources:
  • Team members who helped plan and execute the walk (Janet and Julie)
  • Host families who sheltered us in the storm (and in fair weather)
  • Guest walkers who shared part of the time on the road (Rebecca and Marijke)
  • Folks who set up speaking gigs, radio, and newspaper interviews (Janet and Elizabeth)
  • My Council of Elders who supported this walk (Tasha, Noriah, Rebecca, Bryan and Sharese)
  • Uzazi Village staff who held it down while I was away (Mariah and Charlene)
  • All those who watched, waited, and read along on the journey
  • Those who planned and attended the Improving Birth Rally that kicked off the Walk
End results of the walk:
When all was said and done, I walked 61 miles over six days and raised, $3,720 toward Uzazi Village operations and programming.  Which mean $1,860 for programing (50%), $1,116 (30%) for operations, and $186.00 (5%) each donated to ICTC and National Association of Birth Centers of Color.  The remaining $372 (10%) covered fundraising fees for paypal and causevox.  Thank you to all those who donated to make this fundraiser a success.  From sponsors and other donors we collected $2, 300 to cover walk expenses which included RV rental, food, gas, and motel costs.

My Experience:
The walk was an amazing experience for me.  I walked alone for hours on end for days at a time.  That was a true gift.  I was beautiful beyond words out on the trail and I got to soak it all in.  I'm so grateful to have had that experience.  Someone asked me if I ever felt unsafe alone out on the trail.  I have to admit it took a couple of days to get used to.  City folk like me are used to always having people around and really didn't think the trail would be THAT empty of people.  Now that I've done it and look back on it, I'm really proud of what I accomplished. I challenged myself physically.   I did increase awareness of the issue, and started some dialog both in Missouri and around the nation.  Its just a pittance when so much needs to change.  In order to keep the conversationa and awareness going, I've decided to do the walk again next year, and allow others to walk in thier own states to bring awareness and invite dialog which I hope will lead to action.  Thank you to all of you who supported my efforts and followed my walk.  I will be keeping the walk page open and will reset it for next September so that I can share as the plans for a multi-state walk take shape.  This will be no small task as I enter into a CPM preceptorship and a PhD program.  Your continued prayers and well wishes are most welcomed.

Lessons Learned:
  • Say what you mean, and mean what you say.
  • The only way things will change will be if we change them.
  • Listen to the body and care for its needs.
  • Always bring enough to share.
  • Fear is in the mind, courage is in the action.

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