Blog 34   7 million Steps     Leslee Massey  – Warrior Mom – My friend

I was introduced to Leslee Massey, Austin TX, through one of Kay Lathrop’s contacts.

Initially Leslee and I connected through messaging each other, I was going to be in Austin Tx,  and was trying to meet up with her.  

Leslee runs a foundation “Living the Dream” which honours the life of her son Tyler Deets who sadly passed away from his spinal cord injury. Leslee holds a series of fundraisers each year, with monies raised going to families for “Activity Based Therapy” scholarships in the Austin area. Leslee is also a board member of the Lone Star Foundation.

With dates for Austin finalised, Leslee invited me to stay with her, husband Eric, son Joey and grand-daughter Julia.

Arriving late afternoon, I was greeted by this amazingly beautiful woman, I instantly knew we would be friends forever. It was like we had known each other for years, so easy was our conversation. I was blown away by her commitment to helping families living with spinal cord injury especially after her own son has passed away.

Leslee had been following me on Facebook, seeing I had been eating so much Mexican food on my travels, they had prepared me an Italian feast, complimenting it with Australian Wine…

I was completely humbled by the kindness of Leslee and her family. It was an incredible evening one so special to me! Over the night we talked about the Warrior Momz Walk, Leslee was excited about the Walk and wanted her Foundation to be part of it. Leslee committed to sponsor the Walk for $10,000, little did we realise how critical this donation would be to whether the Walk commenced or not!

Fast forward to September 1st 2017, we finally had the RV, I contacted Leslee and confirmed the Warrior Momz Walk would commence as planned September 22nd 2017. Leslee agreed to send her sponsorship through, along with some other monies raised through Rotary friends, and another friend we had the money in place to fund the Warrior Momz Walk expenses.

While most ventures of this nature have a budget between $80 – $100,000, we believed we could fund it for $20 – $24K including an emergency fund for the RV in case something went wrong.

I have kept in touch with Leslee all along the Warrior Momz Walk, she planned to join us in Dallas to attend the Dallas event December 16th and walk with me for 2 days.

Leslee arrived late afternoon on the 15th, we immediately spent the next few hours catching up then joined our Dallas hosts, Julie, Lonnie & Bob for a Texan Chilli feast! It was such a fun night, both Kelly and I loved it. On the road we lead a fairly “monk like” existence, so being with a family and friends gives us a taste of the “real world” if only for a few days.

Leslee and I walked 21 miles the following day, we chatted, had our quiet times and generally enjoyed a fun, yet at times a challenging day. Leslee was so excited as she had previously only walked 7 miles and was so happy she had managed the 21 miles.

Leslee’s feet were sore but she didn’t complain… Once in the RV she didn’t want to soak her feet feeling her toes would be ok in the morning – well they weren’t, she had a nasty blister on one of her little toes and one on the side of her heal. We dressed them hoping they would be ok.

Leslee had to leave after lunch we managed to walk about 12 miles, I could see she was in pain and suggested ringing Kelly to come collect her. Leslee wouldn’t hear of it, determined to finish her walk, in her eyes the pain was Part of the experience! It is the first time since I started the Walk that I had someone walk with me 2 days in a row, I loved it so much…

Leslee enjoyed our Warrior Momz Walks together, our little adventure in my eyes was perfect, epitomizing an important reason I am walking that is to connect and walk with Warrior Momz.

Both Kelly and I said a sad farewell to Leslee, she brightened and enhanced our lives for the three days she was with us and I so much look forward to seeing her again. I know she will try and come the Washington DC.