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Saturday, March 31, 2012

MS Walk 2012, Newburyport, Massachusetts, March 31, 2012
Team Terry
back row, on the sea wall: Tracy, Christine, Mary,  Ann (and Betty, back at the gate)
front row, from left: Denise, Kathy, Stacey, Mal, Pat, Terry, Rick, Pat, Jane, Leela

With temperatures in the thirties, scant falling snow, and a stiff breeze coming along the water, MS Awareness Month came to a chilly end. The walkers gathered at Cashman Park, turning in their registration envelopes and receiving orange shirts for their fundraising efforts. 

But Team Terry members were already dressed in their team shirts, white with a yellow and orange sunburst and an image of a walker standing atop a rock, hands reaching out towards the sky in a posture of success.

And the team did reach their goal of fundraising $500.00 for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, sponsors of the walk.  They all walked the picturesque route, starting alongside the mouth of the Merrimack River, which flows from Lake Winnepesaukee in New Hampshire all the way through lower New Hampshire, into northern Massachusetts, passing through large cities that grew because of the water power available for the early textile mills.

The walk maps led them then through the neighborhoods of brick sidewalks and Early American clapboard houses, and then along High Street, famous for its Captain's Houses and Brick Courthouse ~ the oldest one in America that is designated a Federal Courthouse and still operating as such.  The walk then led them through the restored early commercial district where the Towle Silver building still stands, and then around and back to Cashman Park.

Refreshment stands with water and healthy snacks were set up along the route, every mile and a half or so, where facilities were available for those in need, and team mates had a chance to catch up with each other. On returning to Cashman Park, pizza donated by a local vendor and more water and warm coffee and cocoa were available to the walkers and their cheering squads.

The five mile walk through the city took about two hours, and sparked a lot of lively conversations along the way. Snow in March is not unusual in northern Massachusetts, but as it was only our third or fourth snowfall in this nearly snow-less winter, and non accumulating at that, it deserved comment.

Walkers, strollers, wagons and carriages, and a few wheelchairs all meandered through the narrow sections of walkway, and picked up speed and a healthy cardiovascular workout when the terrain opened up. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society's goal is to keep people moving, and keep people connected, and this day was a fine example of how to do both!

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