The 1 Million Steps 4 OCD Walk is the sequel to my 525-mile pilgrimage from Cheyney, PA to Boston, MA in spring 2012. This year’s walk event is celebrating its fifth anniversary, reflecting the amazing progress we have made in building an OCD Community that promotes strong advocacy and public awareness for these brain disorders. Who would ever have imagined that our membership would gather so faithful, year after year, to witness OCD and related disorders? We’ve come a long way both in steps and in miles, but more importantly, in public visibility.
As I write you this blog, I realize that it’s exactly six years ago to the week when Nathaniel was struggling so mightily against his cruel Body Dysmorphic Disorder. It didn’t look good. Judy and I could viscerally feel his deep pain, but even as parents, we couldn’t relieve it. Like today, spring was emerging in full force—the spring peepers were singing, the new flowers emerging with young vibrant colors, and the air outside was intoxicating. However, inside, our son was suffering in unimaginable ways.
This week Christians celebrated what is called Holy/Passion Week, to commemorate Christ’s final moments on earth. For us, this very same week reminds us of the similarly intense suffering that Nathaniel endured—his own way of the cross, his acute agony, and his final death and departure from earth. If Sunday April 16 is Easter for Christians, Nathaniel’s “Feast Day” on April 15 is no less significant for his family and friends.
The annual OCD Walk on June 3 celebrates Nathaniel’s courageous spirit. The Walking With Nathaniel Team is doing the very work he himself can no longer do here on earth—to witness publicly the horrors of BDD and OCD. Together we walk each step in his memory and stand strong as a Walking Team to honor his life and sanctify his struggles. Each June, Judy, Carrie, and I come to Boston and derive great comfort in seeing so many folks come together to stand against OCD and related disorders and to build, at the same time, a resilient, supportive, and loving community.
If you live in the Boston Area, please come and join the WWN Team. Our many walking steps together will help raise greater awareness and build a stronger OCD Community. Wouldn’t Nathaniel be impressed by our determination, dedication, and unconditional love? (April 12, 2017)