Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Beginning the Journey in Arizona...

This would be the blog entry for Saturday, November 12, 2011.  
Friday's Journey was Amazing.  For Opening Ceremonies, I was behind the stage getting ready to carry the "My Children" Flag and Jim Hillmann was walking my sister, Rebecca through the process of the event.  I couldn't have been happier that he was there helping her to have a wonderful opening experience.  We caught up shortly after the course opened up.  With Jim carrying the "Patience" flag, everything seemed right.  The day stretched out over some of the most beautiful 21.8 miles you could ever want to walk.  My sister handled it like a champ!  I was amazed to see how quickly she adapted to the 3-Day community.  She pushed one participant in a wheel chair for a few miles, then right before lunch helped with a medical emergency making sure that the walker was taken care of before we walked on.  We walked & talked through the miles and I got to spend precious moments with my sister.  I was in heaven.  When we got done that night we headed into the hanger to see it all set up with the food service, stage, the 3-Day shop, leg massage area, photo booth, mail pick up and sweet dreams & New Balance.  I got to introduce my family to Dr. Sheri Phillips as well as some others.  Tristin was so taken with Jim.  He talked to him a bit while we were standing in line for dinner.  We stayed for a bit then headed to the hotel.  Normally, I stay in camp, but with my sisters injuries from earlier in the year, we decided to use a hotel.  We were right at the entrance to the hotel when I got a call from Staci to tell me that Jim's father had just passed away.  I was devastated.  I had Chad race me back to camp so we could catch up to Jim.  When I arrived back at camp I saw Dr. Sheri Philips, Norm and a few others standing around and I knew that I had just missed Jim.  I spoke to Sheri for a while and she gave me a huge hug before I headed back to the hotel.  I got little to no sleep Friday night.  My mind kept going back to Jim & what could I possibly do for him.  Jim started walking in Boston, and had walked every mile in every event since then.  To date he had walked a staggering 820 miles since July.  If that wasn't impressive enough, he had raised over $32,000!  I always feel bad when I watch someone get on a sweep van and I know that they don't want to go.  It was even harder to know what Jim had done to date and that his journey in Arizona had ended with the news of his Father's passing.  I didn't want Jim's journey to end like this, and I knew that something had to be done.  I called Lisa and asked her to rally the 3-Day community around Jim and his Family.  I wanted him to know that the love he had so freely sent out into the world, was now wanting to return back to him to give him strength to finish what he had started.  
Jim holding Patience in Atlanta

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