Thursday, March 28th:
I got home from the Dallas event late Monday night and first thing on Tuesday morning I drove to Morehead Spine in Eden for my evaluation appointment at Dr. Roy's office. All is going great with my spinal fusion, I'm healing well and although I'm still on orders to restrict my activities I've been cleared to add more training to my schedule. I can now run every other day, 20-45 minutes max each time, but this is a grand improvement and I'm SO excited. Still no golf, no overhead lifting and I need to add some strength/flexibility exercises but other than that I feel like I'm racing in the right direction.
With my mood high from Tuesday's appointment I was able to attack my long list of chores with good energy. Washing clothes, finalizing taxes, home-maintenance tasks and office bookkeeping kept me busy straight through to today when my focus now can be directed towards next week's huge event.
For those of you following the GBU blog and/or Facebook you know I've been dropping hints about an important project I've been working on since the first week in January. Well, we're finally able to reveal the news: the creation of the first ever TeamUP!!
The Get Back UP campaign was originally created because we noticed a disconnect in our healthcare system; people with mobility issues are often not getting access to the best technology or information regarding solutions. Rather than simply point out the problems as we see them we wanted to be part of the solution, helping these people return to the quality of life they deserve. We hit the ground running, literally, to start spreading the message that technology is improving rapidly. We discovered along the way the importance of also educating people on ways to navigate the healthcare system to gain easier access to this technology.
We had phenomenal success in 2012 and yet we realized the need is even greater than we guessed. Too many people still don't know about existing technology, too many people believe that a better life isn't possible because they haven't seen evidence in their community. This is not acceptable. After many discussions we asked a simple question: if one person running around the country can reach thousands of people, what can we do with a whole TEAM of people spreading the word? Thus, the concept of TeamUP was born for 2013!
Next came questions: How can we make this happen? Who should be included on the team? How can we reach the masses on limited budgets? How do we introduce the team in a big way? Well, we worked around-the-clock since the first week of January to create TeamUP and we actually pulled it off!
I won't go into the hours and hours of discussions, planning, details, communications and pure sweat&tears that went into this project but suffice it to say that many people worked long hours to bring this dream to reality. The head honchos at AllardUSA and at Bouvier-Kelly, Inc. selected the inaugural teammates from those people we met across the country through the GBU campaign. We noted the importance of having a diverse group of diagnoses of people with foot drop, not just runners or other athletes. Each person, we thought, should also be a positive role model in Getting Back UP and have had some experience in sharing their stories. In addition, we realized the importance of limiting the initial team to a small, select few; this is going to be a trial-and-error process so we needed a manageable group to begin the journey.
It was extremely difficult to narrow the invitations to such a small group--we met so many amazing people across the country last year--and yet it had to be done. We invited 8 people to volunteer for this team, hoping that half of them would say "yes". All 8 of them did!! One invitee, Mike Hanvey of NJ, was not able to make this particular trip and so he will be included in the next event but all 7 others elected to join us in Greensboro next week. (NOTE: we WILL be adding to the team once we see how this endeavor unfolds...so if you are interested in becoming a part of the team please let us know.)
More about the teammates later, but for now I'm completely focused on next week's inaugural TeamUP events: The BB&T Gate City Half Marathon and 8K. Not only are we partnering with race organizers to launch TeamUP at their inaugural event, we are also partnering with a local physician and O&P facility to bring their expertise to TeamUP members. Basically 2 full days of non-stop activity is planned for next Friday & Saturday... with the team's arrival Thursday evening and departure on Sunday when everything winds down.
After working this morning via phone conferencing and on my computer, I am now off to a press conference for the race...finally this is all gonna happen!
I meet Liz and Denny from Bouvier-Kelly, INC. downtown at the Greenhill Center. Mayor Perkins welcomed the press and revealed his excitement about what this race will do for Greensboro. The 8K portion of the race will be a sanctioned USTrack&Field event, drawing elite runners to the starting line, a nice coup for this event and for Greensboro. The Half Marathon will be a beautiful and hilly course through several neighborhoods surrounding our downtown.
|Mayor Perkins addresses the press.|
|Eddie Wooten (red sweater), sports writer for Greensboro's News & Record, takes notes as Melissa Fourrier takes the podium.|
|Press releases, medal design, event details and Foster Friends brochures are all ready for public consumption.|
Friday, March 29th-Sunday, March 31st:
Today is Good Friday so the BKI and Allard teams are on holiday for the weekend which frees me up from calls, emails and meetings to get my other work done. Thankfully my husband is off of work today and has promised me his services for getting our home ready for the folks coming into town. We will be hosting the Allard team for a few meetings at the house early week, hosting a former Allard employee and friend who will stay with us for the race next weekend AND hosting an Open House event next Saturday evening for everyone after the race. Currently our house and yard are in "disaster state" and so we spend the entire Easter weekend cleaning up.
By Sunday evening the house had been scoured top-to-bottom, we had a truckload of topsoil brought in for the front garden beds, we planted 16 hanging baskets for the back deck and planted trees and shrubs in the front beds and we completed all the last-minute shopping for the Open House. Whew! As exhausting as it was, I must admit it was nice to do "manual labor" for a change where with each task crossed off the list there was a sense of immediate gratification. It was nice to have a deadline for our spring cleaning, too, and by Sunday night we were able to sit on the porch with our neighbors admiring our hard work.
Monday, April 1st:
Denny met me at my house just after 7am to accompany me to the first media gig of the week: an appearance on the Good Morning Show at WFMY-TV2. Upon arrival at the station I got to meet one of Bouvier-Kelly's newest hires, Ashley Watkins, who will be helping with the GBU and TeamUP campaigns. The photos below come courtesy of Ashley:
|Behind the scenes at WFMY.|
|Thank you, Tracey McCain, for helping us spread the message here at home!|
|Ashley got a great shot of the commercial break action.|
|Back on to wrap things up...and then I'm off to the accountant's office for a tax meeting.|
After a meeting at my accountant's office I'm back home and working all day in preparation for the week of activities. Jim and I have a nice, quiet dinner at home... the last opportunity we'll have until this time next week.
Tuesday, April 2nd:
Back and forth with Bouvier-Kelly all morning, we have a few more things to take care of before the Allard team arrives tomorrow. Then I'm off to Raleigh, one-and-a-half hour's drive from home, to meet Allard rep Jayme Brendle for a 4-hour gait course. I will be making an appearance in front of the PTs and O&Ps as a "patient model" but I also plan to share with them the exciting news about TeamUP and our big event this weekend.
I apologize now for not getting photos from the Gait Course; I forgot my car charger so by the time I arrived in Raleigh at 4:30 my phone was dead from a long day already. The course went well and we got some great feedback and more GBU fans on Facebook thanks to the Level 4 folks and some other attendees. Another blog shout-out now to sincerely thank all the dedicated professionals in this industry for helping people get back up every day... this wouldn't be possible without you!
Wednesday and Thursday:
Carol and Angie arrived from Allard and we had much to discuss amongst ourselves and then to plan with the BKI team before the official arrival of the TeamUP members. We were so busy, thus no photos and no exciting experiences, just planning, eating and sleeping! By Thursday evening all of the TeamUP folks were to arrive, thankfully we had transportation arranged for them to shuttle them from the airport to hotel upon each arrival. With 7 of them coming from all 4 corners of the US we'll be amazed if everyone arrives on time without incident...I am so looking forward to meeting them!
Friday, April 5th:
I had planned to be onboard the shuttle van to greet everyone at the hotel first thing this morning. However we received an invitation to go live on another local station, WGHP-TV8, and so I had to drive to High Point for a pre-dawn interview instead. I was so conflicted over this... I am thrilled any time we get an opportunity to share our GBU message and yet I really wanted to meet everyone and introduce them to each other. Oh well, I guess I can't have everything the way I want it.
|I get to the station about 30 minutes early and am surprised to be greeted by a friend from high school whom I haven't seen in at least 25 years. This is him, John Zales, the news director at WGHP hard at work!|
|This is the makeup room attached to the "green room" for guests of the station. I'm assuming the other anchors use this room as well; there are no other guests currently here and none of those items belong to me.|
|Shannon Smith, standing a clear foot taller than me and even more so in heels, informs me we are doing a side-by-side standing interview. I hope she can see me way down here...they will need a wide angled lens to get both of us in the same shot!|
www.allardusa.com/beth and follow the tabs to the section you're looking for.
Thank you to everyone at WGHP-TV8 for the fantastic coverage.
Next stop, Advanced P&O to meet the team...finally!!!!
One of the reasons I wanted to bring TeamUP to Greensboro was to provide them access to the team of professionals responsible for getting me back into running--and keeping me there without injury.
You've already met some of the players in past blogposts but today you can see them in action on their own turf. Advanced P&O is home to my orthotist, Michael Bissell. He and his business parter, Jeff Smith, graciously allowed us exclusive use of their Greensboro facility and their expertise all day on Friday. In addition, they are allowing one of my 2 favorite physicians to be here, Dr. Karl "Bert" Fields, to assess each patient and to consult with Advanced on the best way to achieve optimal performance while dealing with foot drop.
If you are in need of Prosthetic or Orthotic technology, please do not hesitate to contact the Advanced team...they are incredible and have great experience with Allard's wide assortment of products:
Should you need more physician-related care regarding your mobility issues and heath condition causing these issues, please connect with Dr. Fields at the Moses Cone Hospital facility. Here's a link to his program and credentials, you can click on the "contact" tab to schedule an appointment as a patient:
|Craig is seated while Dr. Fields looks at his insole. Michael Bissell, far background, observes along with 2 of Dr. Fields' residents.|
|Dr. Fields is amazed by Craig's story and by his resilience. Craig was crushed between 2 Humvees and wasn't expected to survive. He is now winning races cycling, biking and swimming despite very serious injuries and lingering deficits.|
A break in the action for lunch, which is really just an opportunity to present our concept of TeamUP to everyone.
|Jenn Lassiter of BKI gives a social media tutorial. Jenn ROCKS!|
|Carol Paez formally welcomes TeamUP into the Allard family.|
Immediately following our lunch meeting we went back to Advanced for the afternoon. Still to do were the videotaping sessions and all of the team's personal assessments and fittings.
One thing that amazed me the most upon seeing the group together for the first time this morning was how quickly everyone bonded. By the time I got to Advanced it appeared that these folks had known each other forever when, in fact, almost everyone was meeting the others for the first time.
I can't remember if it was Barbie or Jill who told me this, but one of them said she knew this would be a good trip when she was in the hotel fitness facility this morning before everyone was to meet at 8:00am: There were 4 people working out and 3 of them were wearing ToeOFF braces! For once, a person without foot drop was the minority--I love it!
|Jill Walsh celebrates and freely shares her story and her joy with the team. Dr. Fields and Michael Bissell work with her while Phillip works with the videographer behind the scenes.|
|Rod and Virginia are incredible souls and perfect ambassadors for TeamUP. Nice jackets!|
"Falling down is a part of life. Getting back up is living."
(Check back for the RACE DAY UPDATE, to be posted soon in a separate blog entry!)
(Check back for the RACE DAY UPDATE, to be posted soon in a separate blog entry!)