About me: Growing up, I was the fat kid who couldn’t run a mile to save her life. Now I’m walking 750 miles through California to do just that and inspire others in the process!
The Walk is very much a mish-mash of different aspects of my background: growing up in California, studying biology at MIT, volunteering with 11-13 year old girls, modeling diabetes for a pharmaceutical company and a determined stubbornness to get things done.
My background: I grew up in California’s Sierra Nevada foothills about a mile from where gold was discovered in 1848. Yes, that meant that I would occasionally dress up in period costumes to volunteer at the Gold Discovery Park. Yes, there was a bonnet involved. No, there are no pictures.
Always good in math, I took local college classes at the age of 12, went through high school in three years and shipped out to Boston to study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. While there, I studied biology, explored Boston, tried my hand at fencing (without much success) and made lifelong friends.
While at MIT, I also volunteered with Keys to Empowering Youth, which would later provide the background for the Walk’s school workshops. KEYs brought together 11-13 year old girls in workshops with college girls to encourage interest in science and engineering. It was an amazing experience mentoring these girls month after month and watching their excitement and interest grow. It’s a pivotal age, and just as we were encouraging interest in science and engineering in KEYs, we’d like to encourage healthy habits through the Walk workshops.
After KEYs, I graduated MIT at 20 and set to work at PA Consulting’s Life Science & Healthcare practice. Working with a very talented team, we had the opportunity to model diabetes and its related diseases. Very interesting and very scary. The results scared me into action, and I realized that I needed to get healthier or I would have a future of diabetes, heart disease, neuropathy, nephropathy, stroke… the list went on and on.
With a lifetime of obesity and a family of diabetics, I was well on my way to becoming a diabetic myself, but healthy habits and weight loss could change that future.
That project was the beginning of a long path that would lead to the CA Wellness Walk (forgive the pun…). Healthy habits are hard, and even harder when balancing a full work-life balance. So I’m returning to my home turf in California and walking 750 miles to improve my health and the health of others.
I may have been the fat kid who couldn’t run a mile, but by the end of this epic journey, that’s going to change.