Lise Pace Finds the Inner Strength Needed to Embrace the Journey

Yeah! I ran/walked the 500 Festival Mini Marathon on May 7, 2011 in 3 hours and 36 minutes. It was my single greatest physical achievement in my life (other than giving birth to my son). I definitely learned a lot during the process of “training” for the event. It was a very valuable experience in my life’s journey. I have heard it said before that the destination we find in life is not as important as the journey. I think that is very true with the exception of something that challenges you physically. At every mile marker during the Mini, with my sighted guide, Nicole Hull, ALL I could think about was the destination. I wanted to make it to the FINISH LINE!

The first lesson I learned on the path is, I could not have made it to the end without the camaraderie of my teammates, especially Nicole, an Employment Specialist at Bosma Enterprises who was selfless as a sighted guide. As she does everyday in her job, she let me run MY race. She simply guided me through the challenge. And, as part of the Bosma Enterprises’ team, I knew I owed it to my teammates to finish the race and to support the other people who were participating in the event.

The second lesson was realized at about mile ten. Our team coach, Heather Quigley-Allen, who happens to also be my boss, told the team, your mind will tell you to quit long before your body. I hate to admit, this is so true! My mind gave me a million reasons to quite several times but, I heeded her warning and my body persevered. I think that in my life’s journey when I think “I can’t, it won’t work, how could I possibly?” I will draw on the strength that I found somewhere deep inside to keep going. I had a lot of reasons why I could have not even started the race, “I had major surgery, I am blind, my dad died, fill-in-the-blank” but, not only did I start, I finished!

The last thing through the Mini Marathon journey is we all need support. Bosma Enterprises had a tent in the Runner’s Village where my thoughtful, early rising volunteers were there to greet me prior to the race. Then, at the very last Pit Station of the race, there were 40 volunteers manning the Bosma Pit Station. Aren’t volunteers the GREATEST? The Pit Station volunteers had to be positioned even before the race participants arrived. Not to mention, they had to stay later to clean up. They are the heroes in my eyes! I cannot even describe what it felt like to have friends, family, AmeriCorps* VISTAs cheering me on when I did not think I had the inner strength to go on. At Pit Station 16, my mind and body were in definite conflict. The support of others made my journey successful. And, isn’t just finishing to the best of your potential—good enough?

All my life I have been a perfectionist. This experience made me realize that in some cases, it is okay to accept finishing. I do not desire to be a world class runner. What I want is to embrace every journey in this life and to accept the destination when it makes sense to do so. I want to treasure my mentors, my friends, and supporters. Lastly, I know now that I can trust myself and others implicitly. Life is mostly about the journey but, the destination is important too, especially when it is 13.1 miles away.

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Lise Pace takes a brave plunge into Mini-Marathon training in this in Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives March blog

I think Spring is here—officially or unofficially! Today I took a really long walk with my husband by Eagle Creek.  It was really nice.  We walked on a really beautiful trail close to the Colts’ Practice Complex which made me think about the Super Scarves project we are doing at Bosma Enterprises.  Our knitters, weavers, and people who crochet have gone crazy crafting scarves for the 2012 Super Bowl volunteers.  We have about 13 scarves to donate with our goal being 25.  Everyone is so proud of their work and excited to be able to participate as a Super Bowl volunteer!  I am still working on my scarf.  I am about half way finished which is the farthest I have gotten without discovering a mistake and starting over.  I think this is the one that I will donate when it is finished. I know that I am not alone in wanting to give a perfect scarf to a volunteer.   All of us are trying to donate something really nice to the volunteers.

The reason I was walking is that I am on Bosma Enterprises 500 Mini Marathon team.  The team is made up of sighted and blind or visually impaired runners and walkers.  Our coach, who happens to be my supervisor, sold this activity to me.  I have not decided whether it was good or bad decision yet.  I will let you know after the race.   I am committed to finishing though—no matter what!  I believe I can finish if for no other reason than I am really stubborn.  The other reason I must finish is Bosma Enterprises is hosting the last Pit Station of the race.  Sixty wonderful volunteers from our organization will be there, cheering me on.

My coach has been playfully giving me a hard time because I will not be participating in a training race on April 9th.    There are several training races that will lead up to the big Mini Marathon race in May.  The race on the 9th is the same day as Bosma’s annual fundraising event at the Conrad, Dining in the Dark.  I am just not at a place in my life where I want to run 10 kilometers (unless I am running from imminent danger), put on a dress and heels, and host our esteemed guests at this function. I just do not see that happening—no matter how much I am cajoled.  Maybe next year I will have more of the “eye of the tiger’” and the running bug will bite me (all the higher functioning people on our team tell me this exists—I have significant doubt).  Not this year!

 

 

 

 

 

Lise Pace prepares for Dining in the Dark, Bosma Enterprises major fundraising event, in this Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives February blog

Oh my gosh—never in my life would I have thought that a 48 to 50 degree day would feel like summer time to me, but the weather this past three days is making me look forward to spring and summer. It is probably too early for me to get my seasonal hair highlights and start using my tinted moisturizer, but I am really tempted!  My husband laughs at my optimism (he thinks we still will have a couple of big storms this year) as he has been shoveling off the four inches of ice and snow on his way to our grill.  Yes, we grilled out—we are really anxious to see the spring showers and May flowers—and to eat food off the grill.

It is a really busy February around Bosma Enterprises as we look forward to the spring. Bosma Enterprises volunteers, 25 of them, have begun making their scarves to donate to the 2012 Super Bowl initiative, Super Scarves.  For the most part, it has gone really well and we even have one person who has completed their first scarf.  Amazing!  I am not only coordinating the project, but I am hoping to knit a scarf or two to donate.  I have really struggled with this project because I want the scarf I turn in to be perfect. I have gotten both a quarter of the way through a scarf, even half way once—only to discover an imperfection.  I am currently on my third attempt and so far so good. This project, in spite of me, has been amazing to watch develop. It has been wonderful to see people who have never crafted a scarf before learn; to observe people who have a significant disability overcome obstacles so they can give back to their community; and to watch people help each other learn how to make a scarf whether they are using a loom, knitting or crocheting.

We are also preparing for one of our annual fundraising event at the Conrad Hilton.  It is titled Dining in the Dark.  The event provides an opportunity for participants to eat a meal in an environment that provides a glimpse into what it might be like to do without any vision.  Of course, it is not promoted that this one night event demonstrates what it is like to be blind or visually impaired, that is not the purpose of holding it.  Instead, I hope that it gets people thinking about what needs to be accomplished to provide opportunities for people who are blind or visually impaired to be independent. As someone who is visually impaired, I love the event and am looking forward to it.  Last year, it raised a lot of money to support programs that provide training which is so incredibly important.   Our inaugural event was sold out last year and I believe we only a few spots remaining this year.

This month or early in March, I will be taking part in the chartering of Bosma Enterprises’ Toastmaster Club. In August, Josh Eskew, an AmeriCorp*VISTA deployed at our organization began putting it together as a method to develop the skills of volunteers participating in our Speakers’ Bureau.   The club has gained momentum and now includes volunteers, members of our staff from across the company—all levels, and we have just opened it up to the community so anyone can join our club.  The meetings are so much fun and it is heartwarming to see people who you had no idea were articulate and insightful shine while speaking in front of a group of their co-workers.  May I remind everyone it is said that most people would rather be the person ion the casket than the person delivering the eulogy!  So for a lot of people, including me—it is a major accomplishment to just participate.  The other neat thing about the club is that everyone is equal during the meetings.  We are just a group of people trying to improve our speaking and listening skills.

My husband just brought dinner in and while it doesn’t feel like summer tonight, our meal sure smells like the aroma of the BBQ and gives

 

Lise Pace reflects on the holidays and her current projects in this Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives January blog

The holidays were better than I thought which I didn’t expect because of losing my father this year.  Of course there was emptiness but, for whatever reason, Christmas was not as difficult as Thanksgiving,  I was extremely grateful to spend the holidays with my son who was home from IU and my husband, both of whom bring me a great deal of joy.

It has taken a few days to get back into the groove after returning to work from the holidays, but I have a lot of great projects I am working on the keep me energized.  I am currently coordinating Bosma Enterprises’ corporate volunteers to participate in Super Scares, an initiative by the 2012 Super Bowl Committee to give all 8,000 of the volunteers participating in the event a scarf to wear as part of their uniform. We will be holding classes over the next several weeks for employees, both who have sight and people who are blind or visually impaired, to learn how to knit or crochet.  I am estimating that between our new scarf-makers and the people here who already know how to knit or crochet, we should be able to donate about 25 scarves.

Another activity I am working on is putting together a statewide volunteer Speaker’s Bureau.  People who are blind or visually impaired in certain areas of the State are underserved.  We want to get the word out that there are a tremendous amount of services Bosma Enterprises can provide to people who have lost or are losing their vision.  Once recruited, our statewide volunteers will assist in this effort.  Training for people who are blind or visually impaired makes the difference between being independent or not—it is exciting to think that soon we will reach people and empower them.

The other really exciting project I am helping out with is serving on the nominating committee for the Community Mentoring category of the Inspire Awards. If you are interested in nominating someone, you can do so at www.collegementors.org/inspire..

Our very own, Lise Pace guest blogs in this Office of Faith Based & Community Initiatives blog. Check it out!

This month was full of high and lows.  There was the high of recognition at work and celebrating my first Thanksgiving with my new husband. Also this month, I participated in holiday celebrations without my father who passed away this summer.  Of course the high of appreciation at work is not really comparative to how it feels to lose someone you love.  I am sure that many people struggle this time of year.  You are surrounded by family, but there is someone missing.

At the beginning of the month, I was recognized at my place of employment, Bosma Enterprises, as Employee of the Month.  As someone who was receiving disability income less than three years ago, it was an honor to be selected by my peers as someone who was an asset to the organization.  I hoped that my work was benefitting others, but I would be lying if I said that I never woke up at night worrying about something work related and didn’t wonder if anyone noticed my accomplishments, and did anyone care?  It does seem that my work was noticed and people do care which feels really good.

I was telling someone the other day that I am grateful to work for a mission driven organization.  At this time in my life, I am able to pursue my passion, something that was not afforded to me when I first entered the workforce.  When I graduated from high school, I attended college and worked at a bank.  I was relatively good at it and was promoted to a customer service representative, then to loan officer, then to assistant manager, etc., etc.  It never occurred to me that I had choices.  Oddly, it is the repercussions of losing my vision that has brought me to this place of opportunity.  Life really is an amazing journey.

As I mentioned, my dad is gone this year and it is a tremendous loss.  My family will honor him this year by carrying on a tradition he started so he will be with us in spirit.  Five years ago, my family began forgoing a traditional gift exchange.  Instead, everyone brings a $20-25 gift with all the adults picking from the pile of wrapped gifts.  With the money we save on buying gifts for one another, we make a collective family donation to a charity.  For us, it has removed the stress from the holidays and we are able to pay our good fortune forward since none of us really need anything anyway.  Now Christmas Eve is filled with faith, fellowship, family and fun.

This year has been filled with highs and lows.  I got married this year, my son is healthy and happy, and I work a job I find tremendously satisfying.  But loss has been felt this year too.  I am looking forward to next year and I wish everyone health, happiness, and joy in the coming year.

The Strength of One

The Strength of One

Being visually impaired has proven to be no obstacle for Lou Campos.

After a truck accident caused Lou to alter his career path, he found himself at Bosma Rehabilitation, reevaluating his life.

“Giving up the keys was most difficult for me – I soon realized my vision is what had caused the accident,” says Lou Camps, now a Manual Skills Instructor for Bosma Enterprises. “Because I wasn’t able to see everything I needed to, I lost my job; later the doctors told me I had Retinitis Pigmentosa.”

When Lou entered The Bosma Rehabilitation Center as a client, he needed somewhere to channel his frustrations. Overwhelmed with where to turn next, Lou discovered a talent he never knew he had – his strength. Lou found himself a trainer and began channeling his frustration through weight lifting.

“My trainer advised me, with my build and my stature – the possibilities are endless,” says Lou.

Lou decided to give it his best shot and to no surprise, he began gaining strength – quickly. In just a matter of months, Lou began gaining 10 to 20 pounds of strength per week . He started by weighing 275 and then within three months was weighing a total of 308.

“In my mind, when I hear someone is 300 pounds –that is not healthy,” he says. “The kicker was, I was gaining a lot of muscle, in a lot of places and quickly.”

Now ready to compete, Lou began his strength-training journey in Canton, OH, by bringing home three state records.

When asked what his later goals for weightlifting are, he replied with a simple, “to break some more world records,” and that is exactly what he did.

Lou went on to compete in a nationwide competition hosted by the World Association of Benchers and Deadlifters, (WABDL), located in Las Vegas, NV. Finishing with a satisfying 578lb. dead lift and 486lb. bench press record sent Lou back home to Lafayette, IN with a shiny trophy in hand and two world records.

Not only is Lou an exceptional athlete, he is a coach, husband and father. With his two sons, daughter and loving wife beside him –Lou always finds the strength to persevere.

“At the end of the day, I do it for my kids,” he says. “I have to do something to keep me level headed.”

An Adventure in Area 55

Yesterday I embarked on an unexpected adventure. My friend who was supposed to go with me to the Pacer game could not attend. Not wanting to miss a good game, I decided to go by myself. No big deal right? Well, there are a lot of potential moments of disaster for a blind person going to a stadium by oneself.

 

I had no idea whether I would be successful in making it to the game and back home.  After all, there were a lot of questions that I did not have answers for.  Would the cab drop me off in the right place?  How would I get into Conseco Field House?  Would someone help me find my seat?  Would it be easy for me to get food and a drink?  How would I find the restroom?  Would someone be willing to guide me from my seat to a location where I could catch a taxi after the game?

 

I caught a cab from my home in Fountain Square and headed downtown.  The cost of the cab was a bit more expensive than I felt it should have been, but at least the driver walked me up to a door and found a security guy who took me to a customer service desk. The lady at the desk sent out a call to get some assistance for me. While I waited she attempted to talk Pacer basketball with me, but she really knew very little about the team. No matter, I applaud her effort. A guy named Garth showed up and took me by a concession stand on my way to my seat. I really did not need to go by the concession stand; my season tickets are in the club level so someone would have taken my order, but this way I was assured of getting my traditional popcorn and coke.

 

After Garth helped me find my seat, I began thinking about my dad and all the games that we attended together over the years. It was kind of strange being there alone.

My seats are in the crazy section, Roy Hibert’s area 55. Here the fans rob chants from IU students and come up with a few original ones. When a foreign player went to the free throw line everyone would chant USA! USA! Overpaid! and DC is better! were other amusing sayings yelled by the fans. In my section, most people stand throughout the game and it is like a college atmosphere which is very refreshing since NBA games can be awfully sterile sometimes.

 

I felt at home once the game tipped off. The Pacers jumped out to an early eight point lead and held a slim three point lead at the half.

 

At half time I boldly walked out of my row and a fan came up and showed me where the bathroom was. I came back and found my seat on my own. During the third quarter the Hornets made a run and took the lead.

A co-worker saw me and came by. He and his wife gave me a ride home, plus he tracked down a battery since my battery had run down in my walkman.

 

The fourth quarter saw the teams go back and forth. Roy Hibert had another bad game. He was 1/10 from the floor. He had three rebounds and two turn overs during crunch time. The Hornets scored a basket from the top of the key with 3.9 seconds to go giving them a one point lead. The Pacers advanced the ball after calling a time out. Danny Granger put up a three that rolled off the rim but Mike Dunleavy tipped the ball in at the horn giving the Pacers a one point win!

 

While going to games by myself is not ideal, it was good to know that I can do it.  The Pacer staff was helpful and had I not gotten a ride home, Garth would have made sure I caught a cab.