2015 Extra Step Nominations for Captains and Walkers
These are your nominations for team captains and individual walkers who went out of their way to raise awareness for Ankylosing Spondylitis and Walk Your AS Off 2015. In no particular order…
WYASO Team Captain Nominations
Budd Geiger of Ria’s Kick AS Walkers nominates Red Ria
I was Red’s Co-Captain, and because of her additional responsibilities & school, I was supposed to take care of our team responsibilities! When I fell ill and wound up Hospitalized with Pneumonia, she not only managed to get in 10,000 steps on some days, she had to step up and do some of the communicating that I was supposed to take care of! She did so without it getting her flustered with her extremely important school work, but she did it with a great attitude just as she does EVERYTHING! I nominate Red for the Team Captain’s Award! Budd Geiger, Co-Captain, Ria’s Kick AS Walkers!
Jennifer Dorand of Endurance for AS nominates Adrienne Taren
Adrienne is awesome and inspiring. We have been best friends since birth (literally). She is completing her MD/PhD while fighting AS, raising awareness for AS, being a fantastic and supportive team captain, and running and competing in triathlons. Despite flaring, she successfully defended her PhD this spring! We both started having health issues as teens. Though we didn’t talk much about it then, we have since developed an even stronger bond over having autoimmune diseases, even though we now live far apart. I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and the worst flare of my life to date started 2 years ago. Despite how busy she is, she has always taken the time to be there for me. Through sending funny youtube videos, discussing medication side effects, since a lot of the same drugs are used to treat both AS and UC, commiserating about how much these diseases suck, discussing the latest medical research (we are scientists, after all) and planning for our future goat farm, we’ve formed our own mini support system and found a way to bring levity into each others’ lives. I could not have gotten through the last 2 years without her and am so lucky to have her in my life. I was able to put her in touch with my friend from college when she was diagnosed with AS and, though they have never met, Adrienne didn’t hesitate to answer her questions about living with the disease, and they have become friends. Adrienne is a true warrior who will never give up her dreams, always fights to raise awareness for AS, and is living proof of how to live a successful, fulfilling life with an autoimmune disease.
Heather Stewart of Rockin’ Weebles: Weebles Kick A.S.! nominates Erin Filipich
She’s out there every week counting steps, encouraging others to do the same, picking up the slack when the Captain isn’t feeling tip top, making great song selections, posting and sharing posts on Facebook (tagging everyone she can think of), and this year she even set up an Instagram account for the team! She was there when the team was formed and was happy to join as the Co-Captain. She has even helped with brain storming for Music Monday Motivation Blog posts! This woman is a Rock Star and deserves recognition.
Mary Lineen of Team Fitch Feet nominates Karen Fitch
She is always going that extra mile even when she is not feeling well or her body is not feeling well. She is a pure example of living life to the fullest!
Lisa Giuliani of Team Fitch Feet nominates Karen Fitch
Karen is AMAZING!! She is an amazing woman who blows me away with her strength and power to do. Karen is a fighter and her motivation for us to walk and get our steps in, is out of this world. I think we all made it to Mars!
Joe Fitch of Team Fitch Feet nominates Karen Fitch
I am nominating Karen because she inspires me with the fact that she is hurting and she has a cane, she keeps on walking. I like how she keeps everyone on the team involved, informed and excited about the WYASO through the Team Fitch Feet FB page and emails (for those not on FB.) Even though I have not won a single raffle, I love that she holds them each week. She puts together fun raffle prizes, like really cool socks to wear when walking or later she included a gift certificate for a pedicure (for tired toes.) Each week she makes Step Badges to show our progress. They are really cool looking badges and each one is different. It’s stuff like that, how she adds her personality and her creativity to the WYASO that inspires me and her team.
Carrie Kellenberger of The Walking Spondies nominates Karen Fitch
I’m nominating Karen even though I’m not on her team. I admire her deeply for her courage and go-to attitude. She kept her team going with regular correspondence, despite several health-related interferences throughout the course of Walk Your AS Off 2015. She has such a great attitude; I don’t know who wouldn’t want to walk for her! Plus, each and every one of her blog posts resonated with me in a deep way. You are a WYASO warrior, Karen, and I only hope that one day I will be able to inspire people the way you do. My hat is off to you, dear lady!
Allison Martin of Coach Matt AS Kickers nominates Jennifer Pence
Jennifer did a great job keeping everyone excited and walking. Her husband is in a very advanced stage and has zero neck movement. She manages to keep all three kids going and him happy and going as well. She is an awesome person and a great captain.
Rachel Mathews of Coach Matt AS Kickers nominates Jennifer Pence
Jen tirelessly recruited members for our team. She worked hard to keep our team motivated and involved.
Kimberly Rocha of Coach Matt AS Kickers nominates Jennifer Pence
THIS IS PERSONAL!! Miss Jennifer has gone above and beyond for this cause to support her husband Matthew Pence, who has been battling this disease for years now!! She was our team captain and dedicated numerous hours of her time (and she’s a mother of 3 amazing honor roll students!!!) BOUGHT pedometers for the whole team out of pocket!! Reminded everyone to log their steps, along with her physically spreading the word of this horrible disease. Her heart and spirit to do good for, and with others is just anything short of remarkable! !! AMAZING captain right here!!!!
Morgan Sawan of Coach Matt’s AS Kickers nominates Jennifer Pence
She tried to recruit as many people as she could to join our team and raise awareness for AS; reminded everyone to log their steps each week on our group’s Facebook page, and had prizes for guessing steps.
Lisa Proebstel of Perseverance Warriors nominates Bree Trejo
Bree is not only super supportive, but fights AS herself. Even with flare ups and going through chemotherapy throughout the month, she’s never failed to encourage her team. She’s gone above and beyond, by purchasing pedometers for many of her team, reporting steps to the site for the team members, creating a great team page on Facebook for us to be able to support each other day to day, and so much more. She’s such a beautiful soul inside and out. She is strong, even in her weakest physical days. So beyond proud of her.
She is hardworking, and never gives up. If she wants something done nothing will get in her way, and she will keep fighting tell she gets to the top….also because she is the only person on our team with A.S.
Kelly Costello of Team BeLeighVe nominates Leigh Costello
I am not the most eloquent person, especially when it comes to describing my incredible mom, Leigh, but I will do my best. She has had AS for decades, which has taken a severe turn in the past two years. She is the epitome of a fighter and dreamer, always taking care of herself as much as possible while also enjoying the beauty of every day and making plans for the future. She frequently posts and re-posts about AS on Facebook to spread awareness, and always makes sure to stay in touch with her supporters and loved ones. As a Team Captain for Walk You AS Off, she simply rallies her troops by asking for love, support, laughs, and lots of steps! She has bought pedometers for people who didn’t already have one, and for me she gave up her pedometer clip after I lost mine (most of my work outfits do not have pockets, so I needed a clip). AS has forced her to slow down in so many ways, while at the same time causing her to have more meaningful relationships and moments that turn into memories. In just a few days she will be walking me down the aisle at my wedding, without her usually-needed walking sticks. She’s always been the best Team Captain I could ask for in my life, and she has used AS to be the best Team Captain for others with this disease and their caregivers by spreading awareness and love. She fights like a girl and kicks AS every day, and I love her to the moon and back!
Martin Kelly of the Orange Apples nominates Gillian Eames
I first met Gillian through Twitter. And from that moment she has helped and guided me through, and still does. I learnt about AS and how to be stronger than it from Gillian. She’s inspirational. She’s like a parent to many. She’ll always be my ‘pocket rocket’.
Jane Gould of the Orange Apples nominates Gillian Eames
Gillian Eames has inspired and cajoled all along the way – she has captured her team and refuses to let any of us get away! She is simply the best!
Laura Joss of the Orange Apples nominates Gillian Eames
Gillian was very motivational , always there for a chat on out orange apples group page .. Always there to help logs steps and keep the team going and when people were down about the step count she made sure to make that person feel proud , that every step counted towards the team! So proud to be apart of team Orange Apples! Laura Joss xx
Gillian is a wonderful person and friend, who despite her own problems, kept our whole team motivated. She made me smile every day.
Tina Masella of the Orange Apples nominates Gillian Eames
Gillian is an amazingly inspiring lady and no matter what keeps us all in high spirits and motivated. I admire her. Thank you, Gillian, for keeping me going. x
Because she’s ace. She’s motivated us through this despite not being on the medication that she needs and therefore being in significant daily pain. She’s always positive and strong and she’s a true inspiration to anyone with AS, but also massively to me. There were days when I wasn’t feeling great through the last month where I didn’t feel like going out and being some extra steps in… but I did for Gillian, because I know that she’d have been out there no matter how awful she felt doing her best for the rest of us. A truly amazing woman :-).
Jean Morton of the Orange Apples nominates Gillian Eames
Gillian is a great ambassador for Ankylosing Spondylitis. Despite struggling badly over the past year, being in extreme pain and fighting many battles, Gill has found the strength to keep up her awareness campaigns for AS while advising and helping anyone who needs help with many different aspects which come with having AS. Being the founder of Orange Apples she is the one person every team member can rely on to get them through the day, week or month.
Her sense of humor and her “if I don’t know, I will find out” outlook, her lets get up and ‘at ’em mantra, Gillian has once more led the Orange Apples Team to its biggest membership yet and its best step total. The team needs her, her encouragement, her humor and her unending support, which is always available despite how awful things are in her AS world. Gillian Eames is Orange Apples!
Anna James of the Orange Apples nominates Gillian Eames
I came across WYASO via Twitter and Gillian soon took me under her wing which led me join team Orange Apples. Gillian has been such a support to many within the group and her messages of encouragement have been so motivating. This is my first time with WYASO and being a part of this team has been a fantastic introduction xx
Poppy Hocken of the Orange Apples nominates Gillian Eames
Gillian may be little, but she is a giant in the AS world. She does so much to raise awareness of AS and supports so many of us with her kindness.
David Semmence of the Orange Apples nominates Gillian Eames
Gillian is one in a million, going the extra mile to help anyone.
They keep us motivated. Take all the banter we chuck at them. Make us feel part of the team. Have become really good friends since we first met on Orange Apples last year. BUT DONT TELL THEM I SAID SO
Marie Simmons of the Orange Apples nominates Jean Morton
Because she always has my back when I feel like I am losing hope, she gives me the strength and courage to carry on. Thanks Cap!
Gillian Eames of the Orange Apples nominates Jean Morton
Because Jean is supportive and caring to me as a pal but l have watched her support all our new team members to Orange Apples Team. She has stepped up to the mark as Co Team Captain this year as l have been having a tough time with my AS. Orange Apples is a large team with almost 100 steppers. Without Jean l could not have done it this year x
Anna James of the Orange Apples nominates Jean Morton
Jean has been such a lovely, caring co-captain of team orange apples. she is quick to reply to messages, make personal stickers for everyone and nothing is too much trouble. I think Jean and Gillian have led such a fantastic, supportive team x
Frank Cuccio of reFUSE to Lose nominates Jessica Cuccio
With A.S., my wife still overcomes every obstacle and does everything she can to keep “moving forward”. She is strong and does not know the meaning of “Yes, I need help”. I support her and can only imagine what she deals with day to day. She is a great team captain and my #1 fan. 🙂
Kathy Miller of ASBuzzers nominates Gerry Dance
I’d like to nominate my co-captain Gerry Dance. I’ve known Gerry for a few years now and he’s a constant source of inspiration. He started distance running before he was diagnosed with AS, and he didn’t let his diagnosis change this. Ever since I’ve known him, Gerry has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of AS and NASS. He runs many events in an orange morph suit with a skeleton printed on it as well as the NASS logo and last year set himself an incredible number of challenges to raise funds for NASS including, marathons, ultra-marathons and the 100 mile Cotswold Way race! How he manages to run those races is beyond comprehension for many of us. I know that he runs in great pain sometimes, but he still gives total commitment to every single event and is also one of the most genuine, modest, inspiring, nicest and kindest people you could ever wish to meet. Hats off to you Gerry 🙂
Rob Barber of AS Buzzers nominates Kathy Miller
Kick Ass Kat is the name I first knew her by, and when it comes down to it, boy oh boy does our Kathy kick ass! I know she suffers with her AS, but never will you hear a complaint coming from Kathy’s lips (ok, to be strictly accurate, Kathy’s keyboard, for it is from the world of blogging on Realbuzz that I have come to know her). Sometimes it seems like the poor woman is having to have an operation every week. Her body must be a bit like Trigger’s broom in Only Fools & Horses. “… I’ve had the same broom for the last 20 years…. This old broom has had 17 new heads and 14 new handles”. How does Kathy respond to this never ending cycle of surgery after surgery after surgery? Gets on her bike and smashes out 26.2 miles in a time that would have Bradley Wiggins worrying about his hour record, that’s how. And how does Kathy respond to that? Only goes and bloody beats it again the next week! That to me is Kathy, she has the mentality of a champion, she will not be beat, whatever life throws at her. She is a tireless campaigner for NASS, and as much as that morph suit of Gerry’s has made me very much aware of NASS, it has been Kathy’s influence that brought me into the fold of AS walkers, as I’m certain it was for many other AS Buzzers, and indeed was Kathy’s words that inspired me to do what I’ve done, and I am grateful to her for it
Individual Walker Nominations
Kat Dugger of A.S. Fighters nominates Cynthia Medrano
Cynthia has been ensuring she walks over 10K steps a day to help us attain our goal. Sometimes she will push it to the 20-30K mark. She is doing this simply because I am part of this amazing project.
Jean Morton of the Orange Apples nominates Anna James
Anna was able to fulfill a New Year’s resolution during WYASO. Something that she thought would be impossible, but on a good morning she decided that day would be the day! She set off and proceeded to climb Pen Y Fan which is one of 3 iconic Welsh mountains. For someone who had been struggling for some time it was a tremendous effort,one that deserves her nomination.
Betsy Baker of Blessed Beyond The Storm nominates Marian Snyder
Marian is such a supportive friend whether living near or far. She is rocking this walk!
Gillian Anderson of Assie Walkers nominates Kayla Smedley
Kayla goes above and beyond daily to try to live normally with AS. She works 3 jobs ( one as night fill, which we would all struggle with) to reach her dream of owning her own home and is only young! I would love her to receive encouragement for all her trials.
Jean Morton and Gillian Eames of the Orange Apples nominate Laura Joss
Laura has kept us updated throughout the event with her various pics,a lot of them in her colour co-ordinated outfits. She has been a joy with her upbeat attitude and sense of fun! A first-time walker who has had a fantastic time and cannot wait for WYASO next year,its been a pleasure to have a young person with such a positive attitude.
Debbie joined Orange Apples Team this year for the first time. Debbie has so many other health issues along with her Ankylosing Spondylitis . She has recently had a knee replacement . Debbie never moans and is always there to give support to others. l feel Debbie joining WYASO 2015has motivated her to walk a little further each day. Also Debbie has brought fun and laughter to our team
I think Chris deserves the extra step award for many reasons. I put the Walk your AS off information on a neighborhood page, nextdoor.com, asking people to join my team and walk for my husband. This man stepped up (no pun intended) and said, I would love to support your husband. This may not seem like a big deal but he is a total stranger, never met the man and he agreed to support us. I was blown away as I had family members that didn’t even join. On top of all this, he is walking to rehab his knees from surgery. This man definitely deserves some sort of recognition!!!
Rob is one amazing human being who has inspired so many people including me. He doesn’t have AS, but he does have a whole load of musculoskeletal pain day in and day out as the result of a very bad accident when he was a teenager. He knows what moving and living with daily pain are all about and yet he still runs, cycles and walks some incredible distances. Following his personal challenge to donate a million steps to the campaign has been both inspiring and humbling and Gerry Dance and I, co-captains of the AS Buzzers team, most definitely take our hats off to him, because we know he’ll go the extra mile to get every last one of those steps 🙂 He started off the challenge with this blog.
Jenny has been one of my closest friends basically since birth (I’m a whole 3 days older), and we spent much of our childhood together. We were both diagnosed with autoimmune diseases in our 20’s, and she’s always taken the extra step to support me, and I try to return the favor! I’ve watched her fight bravely through her own health issues the past few years, and even when things were especially rocky, she was getting ready for Walk Your AS Off extra early this year. I’d hazard a guess that she was more on top of things than I was as a captain, all in support of her two friends with AS. On top of all this, she’s excelling as a rockstar medical physicist at a prestigious academic institution. We may live far away from each other but her enthusiasm for this event has been contagious – she reminds me every day how important support is, and why we walk.
Claire was one of the first to offer to sign up on our team and has been consistently submitting her awesome steps each week and has had almost 300K steps in just 4 weeks! She has asked questions regarding AS and has shared our awareness materials online with her facebook friends and is a very appreciated team Weeblenaut! She does not suffer with AS but is a friend and neighbor of co captain Erin Filipich.
I am nominating my husband Matt Filipich for his continuous support throughout the WYASO and beyond. He always is open to being a part of our awareness campaign and lending support to me and my fellow AS sufferers. He has some amazing steps to add to our team totals too! Before the walk officially started, he was getting an average of 20K per DAY until a few weeks ago took a temporary job change that greatly reduced his average steps. But he tried everyday even when stuck in car or behind a desk, to at least make his own goal of 10K steps per day and to get as many in as he could to contribute to our team totals! He has totals just under 300K in our walk so far! I appreciate his love and support during the walk and throughout the years along with me on my AS journey.
Cheryl, stepped over a million steps. She walks with enthusiasm, and we are so proud of her!
I do not know where to start for a recognition for my team members. I have Jeannie and Christine who just like to run and wanted to help me out. Then there is Crystal who read my story about why I wanted to do this walk and just decided to help out. But my true nominee would be my niece Hillary Kemble who, although not diagnosed yet may have spondylitis. She has all the signs and symptoms but haven’t been able to convince her doctor to run test and confirm a diagnoses. She wanted to help raise awareness with her friends at her work. Through learning about my illness she has been able to answer some questions about her health issues that she has been dealing with. With all of that going on she still found time to work, walk, exercise, and raise awareness.
I am nominating Blakely, because she inspires me. This is the second time Blakely has walked on my team, but throughout the year she is involved in many events supporting others like the Ronald McDonald house. She not only walks to better herself, but to encourage her family to have a healthy relationship with fitness and eating healthy. They are a family of five and all of them are involved in activities to be a healthier self. Blakely just told me tonight that she does a “walk n roll” every school morning that encourages safe and active ways to get kids to school. She amazes me. She is such a wonderful person and mom that is doing what ever it takes to make sure her family and the ones around her can be the best they can be. She has overcome a lot in her life. Losing her brother at a young age to cancer, overcoming her own health issues and dealing with new ones has made her fight everyday to live a healthier life today so we can be here tomorrow.
This is Eric’s first year participating in the walk. He has jumped in with both feet racking up the steps/miles while also preparing for his own events. He Races for a Cure (for diabetes) and now he’s stepping to raise awareness for A.S. too. We really appreciate his efforts!
Miss Sammy is our youngest registered team member. She’s out there counting steps at school and on hikes raising awareness about A.S. letting people know about the disease. She is a joy to have on our team and quite the budding activist!
We are so blessed to have Mimi on our team! She joined us the first year we started and hasn’t stopped. She heard about the walk from her daughter who is also a team member and has been walking ever since. Mimi is one of our international team members and started recording steps this year on Week 9 contributing a whopping 616,425 steps! YAY Mimi!
Kinsella is one of those walkers you just can’t help but take your hat off too. Since she heard about A.S. she has wondered what she can do to support her “Sister” who has it. When she heard about the walk she jumped in with both feet and recruited her husband and mother to count steps and raise awareness. She even consented to be in the Walker Spotlight.This year, with the change in the walk dates, she came to us worried that she had missed step reporting and getting her steps in. She was early! We had her reporting steps beginning week 9 and making sure the reporting was going smoothly internationally. Kinsella has reported a fantastic 584,335 steps and we couldn’t be happier to have her with us since day 1.
Kim has joined the Rockin’ Weebles for the first time this year. When asked to join the team she was happy to do it and thanked us for asking her to join. She grew up with captain Heather Stewart and through the magic of Facebook they have reconnected. We appreciate her efforts and think she should be recognized for her participation and continued support.
I am nominating Donna because she is my mother; walking this journey with me from day 1. I was a vey sick baby, being premature and also classified as a “sids” baby. I could not breath on my own and my mother did all she could to afford the breathing monitor I would need. She never ate diner, but whatever scraps me or my sister left behind, and she did so happily. My entire childhood was riddled with sickness. Little did she know that my endless Dr. visits and hospital stays were due to an ugly autoimmune disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis”. Throughout my many years of “undiagnosed” pain, my mother was there standing beside me ready to take me to yet another Dr. so that perhaps this time we got the answer we so longed for. This journey became OUR journey. A mother teaches her daughter many things; through her own actions my mother taught me to find my strength when I felt weak, to see hope in the darkest of times, to always move forward if only spiritually. My mother taught me to never give up and to always be mindful of my many small victories for you could never move a mountain, but If you move a grain of sand each day, you would have eventually moved that mountain. The most valuable lesson I have learnt from my mother was the importance of self worth and perseverance. Without her, I would not be the woman I am today.
I have loved seeing updates from Laura throughout the month. It’s great to see her positivity and enthusiasm x
Kate Lord started walking for us two years ago and has since last summer recorded through the year and posted on the website when the window became available, over 4,000,000 steps. Kate is a happy, talented young woman. She graduated from high school last year and worked for a home craft business and for her grandmother through this year. This summer she will start on a new adventure in Minnesota. She will be attending a special summer program for autistic young people with the goal of enrolling in the advanced education program in the fall. Her Mom and Dad are her biggest supporters and advocates and work tirelessly for her future. Her Dad, Rich, also walks with us. She has been dedicated to the walk, and posts her steps every week right on time. She walks on a treadmill as well as going on walks with her Dad. Since the day she started walking for us, she has been one of our biggest fans. I’d really like to see a picture of her with her Walk Your A.S. Off hat! There are many walking heroes on our team, The Maine-iAcS, but Kate has gone beyond. Please award her a prize. It would mean so much to her and to her family to have her honored for her contribution.
I nominate Jeanna! She is a wonderful woman, mom, wife! She stays very busy in her life and always pushes herself to meet or exceed her step goals not only for us but for better health! She is always going above and beyond for others. She is a Perseverance Warrior!
I nominate Julie. When I started this team I thought I could manage doing it alone. Well it grew too fast to keep that true. She accepted my challenge to be my co – captain and has been such a lifesaver! She always checks in on my and sees if I need anything. She always walks me through my good and bad times. Shehas become my team rock! She understands my AS and is not affraid to step up and do what needs to be done when I can’t! Thank you Julie! I love you.
I nominate Brian! He is a man of men. He has fought for our country and still has battles of his own with his health but he never gives up! We motivate each other on our down days. His strength and energy are a great contribution to this team! He’s always Happy and making us laugh. Thank you Brian for all you have done and continue to do!
I’m nominating my mom for a couple of reasons. The first is that despite her age (Which obviously doesn’t hinder her at all!), she still managed to ‘outwalk’ almost everyone on our team. My second reason for nominating her is for her never-ending/never wavering support/love for me. She flew to Taiwan at the beginning of May to spend a month with me and my husband. We did not get to walk or do as much as we had planned, owing to my bad health. But it was great to have her here by my side. We really did make every step count. My third reason for nominating is because of the hell she went through to get to me in Taiwan. Her flight was a complete nightmare and she was in transit for close to 48 hours. She even spent a night at the airport on an airport bench – at 66 years of age. Now that is complete devotion! 🙂 I reckon she racked up more than 10,000 steps just at the airport. She is a super mom and a super WYASO walker.