Alberta Walk for FOP 2018 – what happened and how it went

Posted by Karen - August 11th, 2018

Last weekend was our annual Alberta Walk for FOP. I can’t believe it, but this was our 7th one, and the 5th that my family has held jointly with the Degenhardt family of Saskatchewan. Holy smokes! Our event is held in honour of my daughter Miranda Friz, age 13, and Kathleen Degenhardt, a young adult. Both Miranda and Kathleen have FOP, and our families began jointly hosting this event when we realized we both have connections in the Calgary area.

Kathleen and Miranda

Kathleen and Miranda

Sunday was a terrific day. We had been a bit worried because rain was in the forecast, but it turned out that everything stayed nice and dry until we were finished (phew).

We started by meeting at Calgary’s Baker Park. This is a truly lovely place, with picnic tables, tree-lined paths, and a gorgeous view of the Bow River. Because it’s unfortunately not possible to reserve picnic tables at Baker, we had driven my 16-year-old son, Owen, to the park early in the morning to hold the best table for us. He sat there for about 3 hours before folks started to arrive, and spent his wait-time watching downloaded Netflix shows (having been sternly warned NOT to use up his cell phone data this way, ahem).

Helpful dude Owen

Helpful dude Owen

Anyway – upon arrival, we handed out event T-shirts to our participants, and then everyone headed out on the Walk. We took with us pamphlets about fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva and the Canadian FOP Network and handed them out to anyone who asked about our cause. It was a nice day for a walk, and we had a very pleasant bit of exercise.

After the walk part, we came back to our picnic site and settled in to enjoy salads, chips, cookies, fruit, pop, and hot dogs. My brother Blair did the honours with the hot dogs, he having recently obtained a new and highly coveted portable gas grill (a model much improved on the cruddy ones I recall from the old days).

My sister Susan and brother Blair

My sister Susan and brother Blair

We also had the great opportunity to talk, socialize, and generally got caught up with each others’ families, whom we hadn’t seen since last year at this time.

Funniest moment – at one point, my niece Katie, age 9, was entertaining us with gymnastics (aside – this kid is FLEXIBLE, let me tell you). Kathleen Degenhardt’s little niece Caroline, age 18 months, was watching very intently, and then she put her head on the ground and stuck her little behind up in the air in imitation of Katie. Honestly, this was one of the CUTEST things I have ever seen! I think Miss Caroline has a future in gymnastics ahead of her… Caroline was also super-darling in her little event T-shirt, which on her was long enough to be a dress, LOL.

As for me, I enjoyed the opportunity to talk with Kathleen and her mom and compare notes about various FOP things. It was also great to chat with family and friends whom I hadn’t seen in a while.

Before we knew it, the event was over for another year. And, ta-dah, I’m pleased to tell you that we raised over $23,500 in the days leading up to our event! Woo hoo! All proceeds go to the Canadian FOP Network, a Canadian charity for FOP which contributes over 80% of funds raised to FOP research. This is a terrific result, and the Munro/Friz and Degenhardt families couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.

Group photo, 2018

Group photo, 2018

Now this being said, it’s not too late to donate! We will be continuing to collect donations both in cheque form (made out to Canadian FOP Network) or on-line at www.walkforfop.com (click on “General Donations” and take it from there) until the end of August. Contact me if you’d like to know how to donate via cheque.

Hugest thanks to all who have supported us, and those who still plan to do so. Your donations mean the world to us. Because of fundraisers like ours, we will one day have an effective treatment for FOP. That date is on the horizon…

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