Westerville schools employees are rounding up support for Board of Education member Cindy Crowe, who was diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease, in March, by forming a team for the upcoming Walk to Defeat ALS.
Team "Westerville Crowes for Cindy!" was formed by Alcott Elementary School teacher Kim Cody, in hopes that others in the district would feel compelled to act on Crowe's behalf.
The 2-mile walk, which benefits the ALS Association Central and Southern Ohio Chapter, will be at 11 a.m. Sept. 29 at Fred Beekman Park on the Ohio State University Campus.
"I didn't know what to do when I heard about Cindy's diagnosis, but I knew I had to do something. I felt devastated when I heard the news," Cody said.
The idea to create a team for the walk was sparked by Cody's daughter, she said, who took similar action after the death of a close friend.
"My daughter, Morgan Cody, who was the treasurer for the National Honor Society at Westerville Central High School, registered a team to walk in the (Cystic Fibrosis) walk last May in memory of our friend, Beth Savage," Cody said.
Cody said she joined her daughter in the walk.
"I felt the same way many people may feel: 'I'll donate money, but why do I need to walk?' " Cody said.
"I am so glad that I participated because seeing the large turnout at the (cystic fibrosis) walk was inspiring. So many people whom the disease has affected were walking in support of a loved one. It is truly inspirational to see people come together for a common cause."
While the team already has raised $825 toward its $1,000 goal, Cody said she would like to see more people join the team and walk on Crowe's behalf.
Now, members of the team would like to see individual schools create teams to walk under the umbrella of "Westerville Crowes for Cindy!"
"Since Cindy is impacted and since that's so close to us all, we'd really like to have the schools involved in it, and the whole Westerville community," said Emerson Elementary School Principal Vicki Jarrell, who has formed a school team for the walk in the past. "We're working on building 'building teams,' making sure that every (school) building (in the district) is represented."
Jarrell said the idea is to involve students, families, teachers, staff, administrators and community members in the walk.
"If someone from the public wants to join the team, it doesn't just have to be the schools," Jarrell said. "The more the merrier."
Cody added that retired faculty and staff also are encouraged to join the school teams.
Anyone who is interested in joining the "Westerville Crowes for Cindy!" team or in donating to it can visit the local ALS Association website, webcsoh.alsa.org, and search for the team in the Walk to Defeat ALS section.