The 2020 East Greenwich Turkey Trot lives – virtually. The annual run two days after Thanksgiving has been a joyful family event for the past several years here in town. Alas, because of that darned COVID-19, there will be no group event this Nov. 28, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still trot off some of that turkey – and benefit a very good cause. Read about that below. The idea behind a virtual run is you pick the time and the place and clock the requisite 3.1 miles. You can run (or walk) by yourself or with a small (!) group. Wear a funny hat (turkey hats optional) or just run as you normally do but EG News wants to celebrate your run, so if you participate, please submit a photo of you or your group. We will collect them and post them as a mark in history – we will keep going!
Now, learn about the beneficiaries of this year’s race – and find out about another way to help if running or walking is not your thing:
It started with a fall, a mindless trip over his own feet. It happens from time to time. But there were more trips, accompanied by muscle weakness and a periodic inexplicable loss of coordination. Concern set in, multiple doctors were consulted, and on December 5, 2018, Olin Thompson III was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
A.L.S., also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a neurological disorder that causes deterioration of motor neurons necessary to get messages from the brain to the muscles in the body. The muscles gradually atrophy resulting in a paralytic state that renders the body unable to voluntarily walk, eat, talk and ultimately breathe. This disease is particularly cruel, leaving one’s brain and intellectual functioning intact, while slowly diminishing other functions of the body. Because speech is eventually slurred and arduous, it can give off the wrong impression that cognitive functioning is adversely affected. While ALS patients lose motor functioning and independence over time, their cognitive abilities remain unaffected by the disease. ALS is a devastating diagnosis no one ever wants to hear for their loved ones, for their friends or for themselves.
Before this destructive disease set in, Olin spent most of his career helping others as a federal public defender following his graduation from Duke Law School. He worked as long as he could after the diagnosis but was forced to retire before he was ready. Olin’s wife, Christa, is a high school English teacher in Warwick. Together, they have three sons at home: Olin IV, Atticus and Nathaniel.
This diagnosis and the quick progression of the disease has changed most all aspects of the Thompsons’ lives. They have an army of friends who have helped make adaptations to their home, but this disease continues to present novel challenges week to week. The new wheelchair accessible, 1st-floor addition has provided a safe and supportive environment for Olin and allows for Olin to be as independent as possible, but the needs and adjustments keep coming and will continue to multiply as the disease advances. Building an addition onto their home is just one of many financial burdens that has come with managing this disease.
As Olin’s condition progresses, the need for more medical treatments and in-home support is paramount. And the demand for in-home care is only going to further increase as this disease continues to wreak havoc on Olin’s body, sneakily taking away his ability to act independently and constantly creating new challenges. Because the financial stress on someone with ALS is astronomical, a GoFundMe page has been created to help the Thompsons pay for the high cost of in-home care. In addition to the GoFundMe page, East Greenwich’s Annual Turkey Trot is donating all proceeds from this year’s virtual race to help Olin and Christa.
Please find details about the 2020 EG Hill and Harbor Turkey Trot below, as well as their GoFundMe link. Sign up to run/walk with a group of friends or with your family. If running isn’t your thing, please consider donating today to their GoFundMe page. In this season of giving, let’s do what we can to help our friends and neighbors.
Friends of the Thompsons
Register for the 2020 EG Turkey Trot here: http://egvirtual5k.racewire.com
Find the donation page here: https://gf.me/u/y58wkm