The True Meaning of, "I walk for you."
On September 18th at 7:00 a.m. the First Annual VJS “I Walk for You” Walk took way. Those from the “Our Family” RFL team who were able to attend, were comprised of walkers, Amy Sanders, Jordan Sanders, Haiden Sanders, Paula Sanders, Noema Gearhart, Philip Sanders ,and Lynn and Elisa Coffman. Escorting them were Elisa’s sister, Gloria Hutson, and Elisa’s husband, Lynn Coffman. The “Our Family” Relay for Life Team 2011 started their walk at the Rolla City limits at 7:45 a.m., in an effort to raise money in the fight against cancer in honor of their mother, Velva Jean Smith. Each member carried a handkerchief with the names on them of those family members, past and present, who have been diagnosed with cancer.
The day started out with a nice temperature but by mid day it was hot, humid and in the nineties. Elisa Coffman, Team Captain of the “Our Family” Relay for Life team, who is also a 13 year cancer survivor, planned on walking the whole course while the other team members walked together and then alternated walking during the trip.
To keep them from becoming dehydrated, the “Our Family” team drank lots of Propel water, which was donated by Pepsi Cola Bottling Co. of Rolla. It was very important for the team member s to keep from getting dehydrated. “Our Family” also snacked on homemade trail mix throughout the trip to maintain their blood sugars.
Lake Springs was there first stop where they grabbed a quick bite to eat. Through the trip they kept their mother updated on the progress of the trip. They called her while they were at Lake Springs. When Elisa asked her mother what she was doing, Velva replied, “I am walking with you.” That touched Elisa’s heart immensely since she was walking to let her mom know that no matter what she would be her feet and be there for her in her fight against cancer.
After their brief stop, the team got back on the road. By this time Philip Sanders, Elisa’s son-in-law arrived, though he had other duties and had not intended to walk, he took over walking with Elisa. Approximately 13 miles into the walk, Elisa became ill and started to chill. Elisa kept pushing it but then started getting dizzy. She knew that since she had already had one stroke, going on could cause another one, and with the effects of the heat that was already taking its toll, she didn’t want to chance it. Besides, if it didn’t kill her, her mother would for pushing it too far! So she made the tough decision of stopping her walk. She got in the car with her husband, Lynn, and began to cry saying, “I am sick and I don’t think I can make it.” Lynn assured Elisa that it was alright and that her mother wouldn’t want her to keep going if she was sick. Then Lynn and Phil talked it over and made a decision. Lynn got back into the car and said that he and Philip would finish the walk. In essence he was saying, “I will walk for you.” Therefore the walk that Elisa was inspired to do for her mother, continued with the efforts of her husband Lynn, of 23 years, and Philip, her son-in-law. They both continued walking until they nearly finished the walk. But when they were about a quarter of a mile from the finish line, Elisa and her daughter Amy took over and finished the walk for their mother and grandmother. It was a very emotional experience for each and every one of them.
This family, made up of many members, walked in one accord, as one, and succeeded in making their walk a success raising $1100.00 in pledges. That day the words that the “Our Family” RFL Team wore on their shirts came full circle and everyone learned exactly what it meant to say, “I will walk for you.”