They said: Take a hike! I said: What?
Yep, as the captain of the Mayer’s Minions Team, I will be taking a Virtual Hike to Defeat ALS on May 16. Originally, it was to be a real Hike in Silver Falls State Park which is a little over an hour’s drive south of Portland. That wooded, hilly park was a favorite place for Mayer and me to take out-of-town visitors who wanted to sample some of Oregon’s beauty but had only a short time to be with us. A few, like Mayer, were avid hikers but others were like me — fine with walking, but no steep hills, please. Silver Falls has falls that fit the access needs of all visitors, and in the spring each waterfall is at its fullest and a joy to see.
Well, you already know that I will not be hiking at Silver Falls on May 16 -- as the event there had to be cancelled. Instead I’ll be hiking in Vista Hills, the neighborhood where Mayer and I settled in 1988. Though there are hills and even a small wooded area about a block from our house, there are no waterfalls. But there are lots of ways to walk 7 miles without doing multiple loops; so, in the coming week, I’ll be busy figuring out a route that will not tire me out before I reach the finish line at 10260 SW Melnore St. It will not surprise you to learn that before the ALS arrived, Mayer walked a 5-mile loop every day for 11 years (before that he jogged that far). Also no surprise: his 5-mile loop has several steep hills.
Though I won’t have other walkers with me, you can be with me virtually by contributing to my fundraising effort. The needs of the people with ALS and their families have not disappeared during this pandemic. In fact they have increased just as is happening for so many people everywhere. The ALS Association has a small, very dedicated staff, but they need funds in order to provide equipment and services, such as the hired helpers who give family caregivers a few hours of free time each week. With several of their fundraising events cancelled or postponed, this virtual hike will greatly help them to continue to support folks in Oregon and SW Washington who have this terrible disease that still has no cure.
Of course, I’m hoping that I’ll not be walking alone but with many Mayer’s Minions in the September 2020 ALS Walk in Portland. Currently, the state’s ban on large gatherings continues to the end of September. I hope that will change, but if it doesn’t, I will participate in whatever virtual event takes its place, as I well know that fundraising is all that keeps this terrific organization going.
Last and least, a few of you know that May 16th is a very important day to me. For 46 years, Mayer and I celebrated it together: our wedding anniversary. During the past 4 years, I could not come up with a way of celebrating that would be a joyful way of remembering the high points of all those years together. I’m hoping that on this upcoming one, the 51st, that I’ll succeed at doing Mayer’s hilly route plus 2 gentle miles before a jolly homecoming. Maybe I’ll even have a celebratory sip of Mayer’s favorite Oregon pinot noir and toast some of the peak experiences of our twosome years! That would truly be a Schwartz Cavortz Celebration!
Mayer’s #1 Minion,