Thursday, October 12, 2006

Walk to D'Feet ALS - Taylor’s Trailblazers

[ Written for Don by Dawn Bennett ]

The ALS Association, Tennessee Chapter is kicking off its annual Walk to D'Feet ALS in Memphis – a leisurely 3 mile walk, appropriate for wheelchairs, strollers, and pets on a leash. There will be entertainment and food as well. I am the captain of Don Taylor’s team, "Taylor’s Trailblazers", and I am asking you to join me in the fight against ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) by becoming a member of Don’s team. The pictures on the right are from last years walk.

I’m very excited to announce that as of October 12, we have 65 “Taylor’s Trailblazers” who are going to be walking beside Don during the Walk! Six of those folks are “virtual walkers”, which means they are there in spirit, so 59 supporters that I know of will actually be present – quite a crowd! These are folks who’ve contacted me by the deadline to order Don’s team shirts, designed by his daughter Nicole. BUT, just because you didn’t get a team shirt ordered doesn’t mean that you can’t walk! You can still come down to Audubon Park on November 4 at 10:00 and walk with us. Actually, meet us a little early as we get organized, around 9:30, so you can find us – we’ll be the group gathered around Don in the red shirts. Just put on a red shirt yourself, and you’ll blend right in!

As you all have become aware, through our friendship with Don, ALS is a fatal neuromuscular disease, which attacks the motor neurons making even the simplest movements of walking, speaking and gesturing impossible. Ultimately the body becomes paralyzed, yet through it all the mind remains unaffected. Remember that the Walk to D’Feet ALS is a walk to support the fight against ALS. Through my friendship with Don, I have been fortunate to become acquainted with the ALS Association and all the wonderful services they offer. The staff steps in to help families in our area who are living with the devastating effects of ALS. They offer many crucial programs including respite care and equipment loans that would otherwise cost an ALS family thousands of dollars. All of the chapter's services are offered free of charge and are funded through donations, grants and events such as the Walk to D'Feet ALS.

With the purchase of each “Taylor’s Trailblazer” t-shirt, $5 will go to the ALS Association, so we currently have $310 going to ALS as a team. Thank you so much to the folks who bought shirts and therefore made those donations! I’d sure love to see that number go up for this great Association that has helped Don and his family so much. If you’ve purchased t-shirts and would like to make an additional donation to ALS, or if you didn’t get a chance to purchase t-shirts but would like to make a donation to ALS in Don’s name, here’s what you do: Go to Click on the Memphis walk, then (in red) "Team List" – in alphabetical order you will find "Taylor's Trailblazers". The site will walk you through the rest. Also, please use this web address to find directions to Audubon Park for the day of the Walk – whether you make a donation or not we want you to come walk with Don!

I know how much Don appreciates all the support his friends, family, and co-workers have shown him since he became public with the news of his illness, and then when friends started the fundraising effort for his family – which, for those of you who were not present at his recent retirement party, Don and his family were presented with a check for the total fundraising efforts since July. Thank you all for the help that you have provided the Taylors during this time! I know that Don would love to have all of you there with him as he completes the Walk to D’Feet ALS – it would be a great marriage of those who’ve come to mean the most to him – the community who supports him, and the ALS Association that continues to help him so much with his illness.

Whether you got a chance to buy a t-shirt, make any kind of donation or not – please try to make it out to the Walk!

Thank you,
Dawn Bennett