I recently attended the 3rd Annual Greater Tampa Bay Walk To Defeat ALS which was held on March 9th, 2013 at the University of South Florida’s campus in Tampa and hosted by the ALS Association. Mobility Express was a sponsor of the event the prior two years and wanted to contribute further to helping ALS patients. This was my second year attending the walk as I also attended the event in 2012. This event is a great opportunity to volunteer and enjoy time with personal and business acquaintances.
The day of the walk had a crisp, cool morning but once the sun started to ascend in the sky, the temperature rose to the mid 70’s with mostly clear skies, which is very pleasant weather to be outside in. I arrived the morning of the event and walked from the parking lot to the sign in booth. The event staff had done a great job of organizing everything and it was very easy to sign in and obtain my name tag.
I soon made my way to the booth that was set up for Mobility Express. We had brought two wheelchair vans modified by VMI (Vantage Mobility International), a Honda Odyssey and a Toyota Sienna, as well as multiple mobility scooters from Pride Mobility to display. Just before the walk was to begin, an ALS patient who was participating in the walk asked if he could use one of the Pride Mobility scooters Mobility Express had on display during the walk. Fares Rached, owner of Mobility Express, happily agreed to let the gentleman use the Pursuit (the model name of the scooter) during the walk and the festivities that followed it.
The walk got underway about 11:15 a.m. and the crowd was in high spirits. Some participants were running, some were jogging, however, most decided on a brisk walk as their pace of choice. It was great to see these ALS patients and their loved ones enjoying their time together in some beautiful weather. The course was set at 2 miles long. I joined some of the other Mobility Express employees who had brought a cooler to the finish line and waited to hand out water bottles to the people that were finishing the walk. The first person finished about 15 minutes after the walk began and it just so happened to be the gentleman who was borrowing Mobility Express’ Pride Pursuit scooter. The majority of participants finished the course by 12:00 p.m.
Once all the participants had crossed the finish line and sufficiently rehydrated and cooled down, it was time to acknowledge the noble fundraising efforts of the various sponsors, teams, and individuals. The team who had raised the most money was Miles for Michael who raised $15,865.00 towards the ALS Association’s goal of $230,000. So far, the total amount raised by all sponsors, teams, and individuals is just under $150k, which is very impressive.
After the announcements were done and the cleanup had begun, I stuck around to chat with some of the employees from Mobility Express as well as some of the walk participants. They were all happy to have been able to help with the event, even on their day off. As the function finally concluded and I was walking back to my car, I reflected on the event and realized that everyone involved seemed to have a great time, but it was for an even greater cause.