The powerful energy and incredible love at the Purple Shoes Challenge was amazing to experience! Our family can't thank you enough for such a wonderful event. Shane had an incredible day and it was all thanks to the vision, hard work and efforts of your family and all the volunteers. May your kindness return in 2013! Wishing you all a happy and healthy New Year!

Love Tracey, Bill and Shane

PS. We can't wait for next year's event!

I enjoyed The Purple Shoes Challenge tremendously. I am usually not a morning person, but when my alarm went off at 4:30 am on Sunday I jumped out of my bed before I knew what happened because I was so excited to get there. The ride only took me about an hour, but it felt like 3 hours.

I was actually extremely nervous about being there. There were so many volunteers, athletes, and parents in the field house, I got a little nervous. Then the athletes started to show up and I started to think, "What if he does not like me?" Then I met Ethan.

We hit it off right away. I found with Ethan, once I told him my name that I was going to be his buddy for the day and that we were going to have a lot of fun, he was instantly excited. His eyes lit up and he started to tell me his life story. He told me about the camps that he goes to in Michigan for therapy and how it is "sometimes" hard for him to walk. I feel he enjoyed just being with Eric (other volunteer) and me. Then it came close to race time, and he was upgraded to the sixty-minute challenge.

He was a little scared at first, but we told him that we knew that he could do it. Slowly he gained confidence in himself. We got to the starting line and he was extremely excited. Then he noticed the Winners' Circle and asked what that meant. We explained that when we finished our race we go to the winners circle to get his medal. I asked Ethan how he thought it would feel after all the hard work he was going to put into the sixty-minute challenge to finally get the medal. He replied with "I think this is going to be the best day of my life." This choked me up a little. To be a part of one of the happiest moments in his life, just to see the smile he had on his face when he talked about it was amazing. I could tell that Eric and I were the highlight of his day and that was a great feeling.

There should be more opportunities for children with physically disabiling conditions because this helps so much with therapy. It also gives them a level of fitness that they can work on for next year. My athlete Ethan thought that he was only going to be able to walk 50 feet because he normally walks with a walker and he was going to do this only with a gait belt. Ethan ended up walking a total of 1,566 feet. His goal for The Purple Shoes Challenge in 2012 is 2,000 feet, and I believe he will even beat that mark and reach almost 2,500.

I just wanted to thank you for the experience and for all the work that you and your staff put in to making this a great day for all. I feel that the experiences that I had at The Purple Shoes Challenge will help me in my teaching career. Keep up the good job. I hope that I get to do this again with you next year. The Purple Shoes Challenge is probably the greatest thing that I have ever participated in.


Kyle Tuneburgh

We have really enjoyed having Will participate in the PSC over the past few years. The event creates a wonderful opportunity for Will to experience setting personal physical goals and working towards achieving those goals in a very supportive community environment. The PSC team has done an exceptional job with all aspects of planning and we love how the event showcases the Purple Shoes Challenge and Katie's legacy in a very special way. It is evident that the planning team is committed to making changes, improvements and adding new elements every year. We loved having an opportunity to see and meet Anjali Forber-Pratt last year and thought she was a very special role model for the young athletes in the program. The training sessions were also a nice addition and helped to build a sense of being a part of a team community last year. Arranging the half marathon before the PSC and giving the runners an opportunity to be present for the PSC created a nice chance for runners to come cheer on the PSC. Coach Pass is amazing and our experience with his education students has been very positive. The lunch for the PSC athletes and families is very nice and the food is delicious. We are very grateful that our family has this opportunity to be involved with the Purple Shoes Challenge and to experience Katie's legacy living on and enriching the lives of many others.

All the best,

Erin and Mark Ward

Hi, my name is Katie LaPrad, I am currently a student at Salem State University. I first learned about the Katie Lynch foundation from one my favorite professor's Dr. Passarini. He was teaching an adapative physical education course and I could hear the passion and personal connection he had to carry on the message that Katie Lynch wanted to share with the world. He showed us a video of Katie Lynch in class and I immediately knew that I wanted to get involved in some way. I was given the opportunity to introduce my public speaking class to the Katie Lynch Foundation by selecting the Katie Lynch Foundation as our focus for a group project. I was able to attend one of the training sessions prior to the Purple Shoes Challenge and meet some of the amazing athletes. A couple of my classmates also attened the event and we were able to learn a lot more about Katie and the foundation by meeting with her mom, Joan Lynch! I will never forget this experience, being in that gym with all those talented athletes put in a spark in my heart. I knew that I would attend the main event and would like to volunteer if possible. I was very fortunate to meet Will Ward at that training session. I felt a connection with Will and asked his parents if it was okay with them if I walked by his side and cheered him on at the Purple Shoes Challenge. They were very supportive and I am very grateful for the opportunity to get to know their son Will better. The day of the Purple Shoes Challenge was very powerful, you could sense Katie's presence all around. I was able to help with set-up for the big event and also got to bring Will over to meet Anjali Forber-Pratt who is a paralympic medalist. Anjali was inspirational and added a great energy to the room! Throughout the event there was so much positive energy and support. To see the athlete's determination and joy was such a gift. My favorite part was crossing the finish line with Will and him doing a donut in his wheelchair to celebrate. It's an experience you can not miss! Such an amazing event to be a part of. I look forward to future events with the Katie Lynch Foundation and getting more involved.

Katie LaPrad