For the past four years, The New England Ballet has included young dancers with special needs in an adaptive production of The Nutcracker Suite, alongside members of the professional dance company. They have given my son and dozens of other kids with autism, Down syndrome, and various physical challenges the opportunity to express themselves through movement; to learn the discipline that goes along with rehearsing a show; and to gain the self-confidence that comes from performing what you've practiced and getting well-deserved applause.
Raising a kid with special needs isn't easy, and I've owed my sanity over the past few years to roller derby. There's nothing more therapeutic than making good friends and knocking them off their skates. The ladies at CT RollerGirls create an environment that's both inclusive and competitive, allowing all its members to tap into their inner beasts and be their own heroes.
So, why the walk? I'm researching a novel I'm writing, in which our hero abandons her family to through-hike US Route 1 from Maine to Florida. Unlike my protagonist, I'm not going to abandon my family: the kid is going to Camp Grandma, and my husband has agreed to support me from afar. As long as I'm taking this ridiculous walk, I want someone other than myself to reap the benefits.
The first couple hundred or so dollars raised here will feed and shelter me for the week or so I'll be walking. The rest will be divided between New England Ballet and CT RollerGirls in proportion to how you the donors choose. When you make your donation, shout out who you want your gift to support; if you don't specify, I'll split it down the middle.
In addition to money, I need your support with logistics. Can I crash on your couch for a night in early June? Do you have a lightweight hiking backpack I could borrow? Want to walk with me for a couple of miles as I pass through your town? Let's talk!
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