Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Walking to Make a Difference for Others

Brooke Warner at Three Intentions wrote a few weeks ago about the aspirations of one very determined woman to raise enough money to fund the purchase of 100 legs for persons in developing nations who have little or no possibility of obtaining on their own a prosthesis or prostheses.

The woman Warner featured is Colleen Haggerty. A resident of Bellingham, Washington, Haggerty lost one of her legs in an accident when she was 18. She knows intimately what it is like to struggle with mobility when you lack a part of the body that makes walking on your own something you do without thinking. She's had a prosthetic leg for 32 years, and for the past two-plus years found that walking had become increasingly difficult, so difficult that she could not walk around her block.

At the beginning of the New Year, Haggerty started a workshop that required commitment to a goal. And so she set herself a goal: to walk a mile by the end of seven weeks. She determined how long she'd have to walk each week to build  the strength and confidence she'd need to reach her goal, and she documented each day of  her efforts on her blog, My Mile Walk, where she also confided how she had  "underestimated" herself, how she hadn't planned on how much pain she'd experience, how "embarrassed" she sometimes felt. But in addition to all  that, and calling herself "a wimp", she wrote, "I felt like a winner."

By the end of the seven weeks, at the end of February 2010, Haggerty had reached her goal. She'd finally walked every day for 48 days in a row, in fact, surpassing her goal. She also wrote of accomplishing something more and immeasurable: reconnecting with her body, which she likened to "rekindling the flame with an old lover." 

Last month, Haggerty announced she was setting a new goal, this time to "get outside myself and support other amputees to feel some of the same freedom and joy that I feel." After seeing an article about the Seattle-based Prosthetics Outreach Foundation and its work in Haiti following the January 12, 2010, earthquake, Haggerty knew what she had to do:  walk 100 miles in 100 days and raise enough money to give 100 people the ability to walk again. She walked her first mile on April 2 and, as with her first goal, is documenting her progress on her blog.

The amount of money that Haggerty needs to raise to fund the purchase of 100 legs is $30,000 ($300 per  prosthesis).

At the top of Haggerty's blog is a Donate button, which will take you to Haggerty's fund-raising page for the POF. No donation is too small, and every donation is tax-deductible. I've made a donation. I challenge each of you reading this today to do the same. When you do, you will be walking in spirit with Colleen Haggerty and giving 100 people a chance to walk and thus a chance to earn a living, go to school, realize a dream once thought lost.

The video below describes the work of the POF among some of the poorest people in the world.


M.L. Gallagher said...


Count me in.

Anonymous said...

good post.

i went to the poetry party for awhile, then the page froze-up.
too much for my old computer, i think.

can't keep up with the fast pace too well. but, whatev.

drw@bainbridge.net said...

I am always so amazed by your willingness to discover and promote the good works of others. I wrote about you and ML in my blog today...