Just Put One Foot In Front Of The Other


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Karen Swank-Fitch, Team Captain Team Fitch Feet, has some very wise and inspirational words for all of us. The Walk Your AS Off countdown has begun. Get ready to walk on April 1st, and please stop by and leave Karen a comment. 

There is this certain song that has stuck with me since I was, say 5 years old or so. I have used this song as one of my “Soundtrack for Life” tunes that I used as motivation for my entire existence…be it to actually get up and move or to motivate myself internally.

The ditty is from a pivotal scene in a cherished holiday movie when the protagonist and the antagonist face each other and then they realize that they have more similarities than differences. (See “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” the 1970 stop motion animated film. I can spend the next three paragraphs expurgating the existential aspects of this culmination…but that’s not the point of my essay.) The antagonist reveals that he is afraid and to help him, the protagonist sings a song, it starts out slow and soon they have collected 1 million steps! All they needed to do was to put one foot in front of the other and soon they were walking…out the door.

We are Walkers, Runners, Skippers and Jumpers and we have Ankylosing Spondylitis (or we know someone dear to us that has it.)

We’d all like to collect 1,000,000 steps by the end of May, but that might not be reasonable, especially when, at times, that first step is painful. I am here to remind you that if all you do is put one foot in front of the other and you will indeed be walking. You will be collecting steps. You may walk to exercise, you may walk to prove something, you may walk to be part of a bigger idea and you may walk to simply walk.

I walk because I want to raise awareness for Ankylosing Spondylitis. I also walk because I get to wear my collection of “Walk Your A.S. Off” t-shirts throughout the year. Walk Shop

I walk because on the days when I can’t walk, I remember that I did walk, a lot, and I gathered steps and I led a team and I was a rock star! (And yes, I sang the lyrics to that song, loud and proud.)

I walk because sometimes I just do not have the energy to explain what A.S. is, so I point to my shirt and wobble on.

I walk because I need to walk, I need to join a community and share what I know and do. I walk because I want to be a part of something bigger than me. I walk to support you in your journey. I walk to remind you that all you have to do is put one foot in front of the other.

On some days, I walk slowly and to be honest, I am okay with my pace these days. I do recall running and skipping and chasing butterflies, but I also know that time has moved on and I will leave the butterflies for others. I am okay with simply placing one foot in front of the other.

I am okay starting slow and then picking up the pace and I am okay in knowing that I have gathered billions of steps over my lifetime. I know that you will join me and count your steps and motivate your team and on your journey, you will see butterflies and you will reminisce on how it was to run and jump and skip.

I know that you know each one of your steps is precious and will be added to a count and cause so much bigger than just you and me.

So here is my point: Honor each step. Start slow. Don’t worry about the destination. Enjoy each footstep. Honor your pace. And if you need a bit of motivation…SING!

“Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking ‘cross the floor
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking out the door
You never will get where you’re going
If you never get up on your feet
Come on, there’s a good tail wind blowing
A fast walking man is hard to beat
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking ‘cross the floor
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking out the door
If you want to change your direction
If your time of life is at hand
Well don’t be the rule, be the exception
A good way to start is to stand
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking ‘cross the floor”
(Lyrics by Rankin/Bass songs)

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Karen Fitch

Karen Swank-Fitch captains Team Fitch Feet in their second year participating in WYASO. Her family is based in Northern California. A former educator, she is now a dedicated stay-at-home-mother and community organizer and volunteer. Raising her 3rd grade son is one of the greatest joys she has ever known. She's been with her husband for 15 remarkable years. Karen was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis in mid-2013. Admittedly, it was not the summer she had planned for her family. Through education and support from her medical team and her family, friends and community, plus sheer will, she has become a vocal warrior in her battle against A.S. She is a genuinely upbeat woman and learning this new paradigm has slowed her down. She looks at the lessons she is learning about herself, her body, and how she fits into her world. Presently she's working on a manuscript of poems that deal with the grieving aspect of facing a life altering disease. When she's not enveloped in her role and wife/mother/warrior, she can be found volunteering her time.

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