Twelve friends create a calendar to honor classmate with ALS and raise money for the Packard Center.
Recently, 11 friends and I from the 1972 class of Sheboygan North High School gathered up our courage and took it all off for ALS research. We created a 2017 “calendar of courage” to raise money for The Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins. We laid it bare, so to speak, to fuel the Packard Center’s mission of solving this terrible disease. And we did it with loads of love and admiration for a fellow classmate and dear friend, Wendy, who I call the Grace Kelly of ALS because she has shown so much grace and kindness and concern for our own pain along the way.
After Wendy was diagnosed with ALS in 2011, she chose to continue living with zest. She traveled with her husband Dale, took a cruise, continued gardening, and kept up with volunteer work. Along the way, the progression of this insidious neurodegenerative disease continued to erode her physical abilities.
There is no treatment and no cure for ALS. Wendy and Dale eventually stopped seeking care from specialists around the country because it was too hard to hear they had nothing to offer.
“Life is about who you loved, who loved you and how you made a difference.” -TC McCarty
By the end of April 2014, Wendy had lost the use of her legs and hands. Her view of the world was now from her bed. Then, as now, we stood by her and with her and the family, helping wherever we could. She says she is blessed to have us, her friends, in her life and at her bedside. We see it as the other way around: Wendy is a blessing to us. We visit her to feel the goodness in that room. And we are reunited, thanks to her.
Last year, we banded together to do the one thing we could to fight the disease itself: raise money to help end it. We created the “North High Girls of ‘72 & What They Like to Do” calendar. We had Wendy’s blessing, with the stipulation that all profits go to the Packard Center. So with generous sponsorships, we posed (using strategically placed items) for the camera, and engaged in activities we enjoy, such as golfing, gardening, and cooking. Each of us wore a string of Wendy’s pearls, uniting us in love and giving.
Giving of oneself in any fashion to help this good fight – whether by donation directly to the Packard Center or creating a fundraiser like ours – floats all boats, as they say. In supportingWendy, we support her ultimate mission to see that others do not have to suffer.
“My husband and I tried to fight, but there was nothing to fight with.” -Wendy Rauwerdink
ALS remains unstoppable, but there is real hope now for ending it and that hope is in the science, the Packard Center tells us. So, here’s to the science! And, here’s to Wendy.
To all who have supported the Packard Center, thank you! Please join us and give again. Thanks to others like you, our own calendar endeavor has raised more than $35,000 and counting.
When researchers at Packard do find the answers, we can rejoice and know we were part of the solution.
Girls of ’72, Month of May
|To purchase your own copy of the 2017 Calendar of Courage to benefit the Packard Center, click here.|
|Want to win your own copy of the 2017 calendar? Visit our Facebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org (please add calendar in subject line). We are giving away 8 calendars on January 3. Winners will be emailed.|
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