November 1, 2021- The Alpha-1 Foundation Virtual Walk 2021 kicks off today and is off an amazing start! With over 75 registered teams from across the country, this year’s walk is gearing up to be the largest one yet. The Virtual Walk is all about meeting the Alpha-1 community where they are on their personal Alpha-1 journey. The Virtual Walk allows participants to decide when and where to walk and gives opportunity to set achievable goals.
During November’s Virtual Walk, the community will be engaged during weekly ZOOM calls, social media posts and by tracking their progress on their Strava app. We are encouraging walkers to set and achieve personal fundraising goals to help in our efforts to raise money towards finding a cure. It is not too late to form a team, join a team or register as an individual.
There is an opportunity for everyone to get involved- you can walk for yourself, in honor of a loved one, or in memory an Alpha Angel. Looking for inspiration? Look no further. Read the motivating stories below from some of our most dynamic teams:
The first story is of an Alpha, a double lung transplant recipient and an AlphaNet coordinator, Debbie Labud. This November marks the 20 year anniversary of Debbie’s call for a left lung transplant. Coming home across the bridge in Cedar Key, Florida from Thanksgiving dinner 2001, Deb was paged, after four years, four months, 22 days and three dry runs. Debbie was diagnosed in with Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency in 1991 at age of 36 leading to her lung disease. Later in 2018, she received the call for a right lung transplant. She is walking this year to celebrate this momentous milestone!
“This November is time to celebrate my 20 years of life since transplant. I have a lot to be thankful for. At the top of my list is my organ donors. The choice they made to be an organ donor has given me 20 years more years with my children and grandsons and allowed me to watch them graduate and get married. My transplant gave me a chance to meet my first granddaughter, five great-grandsons and four great-granddaughters. Life and God is Good!- Deb Labud.
The next shout-out is to Team Harrison from Kentucky. Team Harrison is represented by the Stephen’s family that has participated in the annual Virtual Walk for over six years. Each year host over 50 family members and friends to support Harrison at different activities from a football game to a “drive by parade”.
Team captain and mom, Hillary Stephens says, “Alpha-1 Awareness Month means everything to us! Although our hearts and minds are always on Alpha-1 throughout the year, we are so grateful for the opportunity to have our friends and family gather each November to celebrate our son, Harrison. It has become a very special month for our family. With help from the Alpha-1 Foundation in setting up the Virtual Walk for us, we are easily able to spread awareness. We look forward to another successful Alpha-1 Awareness Month this year!”
Gillian Nance’s mother passed earlier this year and her team is walking in her memory. “My mom passed away this past May after a very long battle. She was finally diagnosed with Alpha-1 about 8 years ago. She was mother to six and Mammaw to thirteen grandchildren. She was happily married for 45 years to my dad. I decided to honor her birthday this year by walking a 5k and raising funds for Alpha-1 research. My fundraising goal $1,101.53 was her birthdate, 11/01/53. I knew this was the best way to honor her because it would help spread awareness of this rare disease that she advocated for while funding future research, which is important since 3 of my 5 kids also have Alpha-1. I’m hoping that by the time they are older, researchers will have discovered enough that they won’t suffer the same fate as my mom, their Mammaw. So, I walk for my mom and for my kid’s futures,” said Gil.
We are so thankful for all the teams that have decided to make a difference and participate in the 2021 Virtual Walk during Alpha-1 Awareness Month. Stay tuned next week for additional inspiring stories of newly diagnosed Alphas, parents of Alpha-1 kids and families who walking to support their loved ones. Remember, no matter why you are walking, the Alpha-1 community is here to “walk” with you in this journey! Together, we can walk to CURE Alpha-1.
To Register: http://give.alpha1.org/VirtualWalk21
For questions on how to participate, please contact: Irene Guerrero at email@example.com.