The adventure of my life…

6 Jun
Left to right: Carmen, Brooke, Pam, Mona, Kim, and Trisha

Left to right: Carmen, Brooke, Pam, Mona, Kim, and Trisha

On May 31, 2013 six moms woke up way before the sun came out with one goal in mind, to walk 33 miles to raise awareness for the Blue Slide Project. Each one of us had our reasons for doing it, but I can only share mine. As you know I have been working since November of 2011 to raise money for a wheelchair accessible playground at my son’s school. Like a lot of things in my life it was challenging, but I wasn’t going to let my usual “this is too hard” attitude stand in my way. Our fundraising team was successful in raising over $52k for Phase 1.  August 20, 2012 we opened Grants Pass and Josephine County’s only accessible playground, it was my greatest accomplishment.  I was excited, but didn’t feel at peace because I still needed to raise an additional $100k for Phase 2.

So I started 2013 dealing with the sudden death of my brother and feeling clueless as to how was I going to raise that kind of money in this tough economy? I tossed a few ideas around in my head, had several events planned, but God had other things in mind. With my recent weight loss, I finally felt like I gained some kind of control over my life.  For years I felt worthless and struggled with my purpose, I appeared to be confident but inside I was broken. I thought since I had lost so much weight I would walk to raise awareness for the need of accessibility in our schools and parks. Not just any walk, it had to be big and loud because after all we were still $50k from our goal. I had been walking 3-5 miles a day since February, and I trained long distance walking for about a month and a half. I felt prepared, did all my research but I was terrified! What if I fail? What if I talked these 5 other moms into walking with me and I end up being the only one not to finish? All these doubt rushed through my mind, I needed to stop thinking and just go for it, I had nothing to lose.

We started at Hoover Elementary the location of the only other wheelchair accessible playground in Southern Oregon and we would finish at Parkside Elementary (home of the Blue Slide Project).  With 5 of the greatest girls, the road and my thoughts, I set out for the adventure of my life. I tackled the first 25 miles like a champ, I had a few aches, pains and blisters and I was having a hard time breathing due to a fire. I changed my bandages, socks grabbed my water and with one foot in front of the other I headed towards the finish line. What we thought was only 33 miles, ended up being 35. It was the longest and most painful 10 miles, my feet were swollen, I was hot and since we had been up since 3:45 am I was exhausted. I kept reminding myself that I had come too far to give up, my friends were reminding me the same. At that moment I thought about my life, my struggles, pain, insecurities, disappointments, it was like the last 33 years of my life was displayed before me. Looking at it, I asked myself, why do I let the things and the people of this world say who I am and what I am able to do? A good friend walked up and I just cried in her arms, I told her,  “I don’t want to struggle any more, my whole life has been a struggle” and I continued to weep.

With every step there was pain, at certain points it felt as though I was walking on needles but I kept going. I knew in my heart the only way I would stop is if my body gave up on me. The last 10 miles I cried a lot, I shared my deepest fears with those who were around and left them with each step I took. Thanks to the encouragement of my closest friends and the support of my amazing husband and children, I crossed the finish line at 10:30 pm. I am 240 pounds and walked 35 miles to raise money for a playground so my son, children like him, and adults in our community have the same chance to play with freedom. I don’t know where the $50k is coming from, but I know that God is faithful. Like the walk, He would not have brought me this far to not provide what is needed, so I will keep trusting.

On Tuesday I got a phone call from the children’s hospital in Portland. Isaac was suppose to get botox injections to help decrease the muscle spasms in his legs. They called to inform me that Isaac needs further testing, after reviewing his case they don’t think his spasms are from bone growth. We will meet with a neurosurgeon and go over our options, this was not the news I was expecting to hear but like I said, I will keep trusting. I am very blessed to have my son here on earth, sometimes I get angry because all he wants to do is go where his friends go and do the things everyone gets to do so freely. Please help me spread the word about our project by sharing our news coverage, facebook link and pictures. If you would like more information about Blue Slide you can email me anytime.

You can mail donations to:

Parkside Elementary

735 Wagner Meadows Dr.

Grants Pass, OR 97526

Make checks payable to: Parkside PTA and note for “Blue Slide Project”

You can also pay online through paypal, just copy and paste the link below  into your browser


This is the area of the playground that still needs to be resurfaced.

This is the area of the playground that still needs to be resurfaced


4 Responses to “The adventure of my life…”

  1. Marla Popkin June 9, 2013 at 11:01 pm #

    Hi Mona,
    Congratulations on finishing your walk,your wgt loss and being a hero mom!
    I’m Marla. I was Shannahs step mom, having raised her from 4.5 yrs of age until she was almost 18. I saw your post on Shannahs site. I am an O.T. now, I wasn’t back then
    I just wanted to suggest that you try and contact W/C companies, companies that retrofit van and cars for accessibility, HGTV and other channels thst do makeovers (“george to the rescue” is one show), the actual companues that do accessibility of playgrounds and beaches, the local hospitals, home health companies and out pt. facilities that you’ve been taking your son to for therapy. Ask for donations or help/participation with event planning. Connect with a local tv station reporter or newspaper journalist. Ask them to write a story about your efforts and mission. Talk to police and firefighters about doing a collection.
    I don’t know what you’ve tried so far so maybe you’ve done all this…all the very best! ☆★You’re a superstar☆★

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