The faces, the places … familiar. The circumstances, wholly different. In the days following our first Mikey Walks *Fun*raiser, there is a humbled gratitude for the extended “family” that awaited my arrival on the east coast. Family and friends from across the country gathered in the basement room at Paddy Whack’s Pub in Northeast Philadelphia on Dec. 30 to celebrate the Walk, reunite and continue building the Onny and Oboe Scholarship Fund. They brought baskets to raffle off. They brought their holiday cash to donate to the cause. They brought the love and support that called me back here from as far away as Santa Monica, California. There was always unfinished business for me back here, and Friday’s fete went a long way towards completing it.
“The real joy to be found in the walk soon became apparent,” I told them. “It was in the collaboration. It was building something together.” On this night, I was but one of many Onny and Oboe supporters opening their hearts to give transplant patients and their families a second chance to dream; to not only live, but to live fully. The celebration included a Silly Walk contest (won by niece Kylie for a “Happy Feet” waddle in a photo-finish with nephew Barry, whose spirited silliness included his head hitting the drop ceiling), a rousing auction for my old framed Dr. J poster (buddy Steve has just the wall space) and even a fond farewell for my trusted partner “Coogs” (the baby jogger landing with pal Brian, who joined me three separate times on the Walk Across America). Out with the old and in with the familiar. As the Onny and Oboe drive moves into Phase Two, it’s good to know where One began.