Monday, June 13, 2005

A(nother) Walk In A(nother) Park

Hi folks - Well we did it! Or rather, you did it. Your donations helped make the Greater New York Liver Walks a rousing success. Nearly $70,000 was raised from the three NYC area walks. My total - from 70-plus wonderful donors - from Beijing to Brooklyn - Hong Kong to Hoboken - was an outstanding $5,070 - with still more pledges coming. That was enough to shatter my goal of $3,000 and rank me as the top NYC area fundraiser. That earned me the honor of cutting the ribbon to kick off Sunday's muggy 3.1-mile walk along the Hudson River at Liberty State Park. Alex helped me and I was about to do the final snip just as they began a countdown from 10 - fortunately, I held back and avoided blowing the big moment. It was a bakingly hot day, due to a distinct absence of trees along the path - unlikely the leafy NYC walk through Riverside Park. But the setting was sensational - with the back end of the Statue of Liberty as a backdrop along with Ellis Island, the immigration post were my arrived with parents and younger brother in 1922, when she was just three years old. They came from Belfast - making the long leg of the journey on a sister ship of the Titanic - which because of an explosion of coal gas bearly never made it here from (appropriately enough) - Liverpool. Of course, I felt her spirit with me as I walked along - with Liverpool Football Club's theme ''You'll Never Walk Alone'' playing in my head and scores of fellow walkers behind. The theme was an inspiration not only for me in continuing my winning battle with recovering from a liver transplant, but for all of those out there in whose name we walked in order to raise funds for research in fighting liver disease. An oddity of the walk was that all of these folks with liver disease on their minds - who can't drink alcohol - passed by a Budweiser beer promotional display featuring their famous Clydesdales - on one of the hottest days so far this year. Nancy took Tasha and Alex to the park's playground during the walk and I set out apace, meeting up with them later for a visit to the hairy-hoofed horses - one of whom is named Alex. The two-legged Alex (age 7) made another great inspirational poster for the walk - following the June 5 effort which featured the phrase ''livers walking for my dad.'' This time, he wrote a supportive ''Go Dad - Cut that ribbon - you can do it!'' surrounded by several drawings including a rumpled image of my old liver, a healthy new liver, apparently taking a stage bow proclaiming Ta-Da!; a gold ladder representing my (removed) gall bladder, which is saying ''Take Me Out!''; a pair of pink lungs (inexplicably sideways) saying ''Ooh - Aah,'' and a heart saying ''beat, beat.'' The picture was a hit with the American Liver Foundation staff and will grace the New York office. We topped our great morning off with a trip to Liberty Science Center, which features a stunning just-opened collection of photographs of scores in need of foster homes known as the ''Heart Gallery.'' The Star-Ledger newspaper of Newark (which helped to create the NJ version of this wonderful project and donated its $10,000 2004 Pulitzer Prize award to the effort) reported today that thusfar two children have found homes in the few days since the exhibit opened. While we were there yesterday, petting Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches and doing science projects, a couple from Staten Island was reported by the newspaper to be narrowing their choice to adopting one of two - or maybe both - 12-year-old girls.
It's been a bit odd for us to miss church for the past two Sundays for the early morning Liver Walks - but sometimes maybe you have to miss church to see what God has in mind for you.

The Heart Gallery of New Jersey will be at Liberty Science Center until June 29 and will thereafter travel around the state for the rest of the year.

There's still time to donate to my Liver Walk fund-raising effort!
Donations are accepted on the website through June 20
via credit card - with dollar conversions for foreign currencies.
If you want to donate by check (in US dollars) contact me at



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