Finding The Courage to Walk On

“By Sandra Zunino

The legacy of beloved coach, Andrew C. Schipul, continues on Saturday, September 20 at the Kent Island High School Stadium with the 3rd Annual Coach Andrew C. Schipul Courage Walk.

Proceeds from the Walk will go to the Robert Packard Center for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) research at John’s Hopkins Medical Center as well as to Hospice of Queen Anne’s County.

Coach Schipul passed away from ALS in 2006. He was known to the community as a coach, a teacher, a leader, a friend, a father and a husband. The goal of the Walk is not only to remember and pay tribute to him, but to also help those affected by ALS .

ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a neurodegenerative disease that usually attacks both upper and lower motor neurons causing deterioration throughout the brain and spinal cord. Currently there is no cure and the cause of ALS is not completely understood, though research in the last decade provides hope for the future.

Toward the end of Coach Schipul’s fight, Hospice made it possible for him to stay at home with his family, as well as stay as comfortable as possible until the end.

This year’s Walk begins at 1:00 p.m. Participants may register the day of the event starting at 12:00 p.m., or in advance. The walk takes place along the Cross Island Trail, starting from the Stadium, and ends at 2:00 p.m. Refreshments will be available. Starting at 1:30 p.m., local celebrity musician David Andrew Smith will perform. The KIHS band will also perform.

Organized by Coach Schipul’s wife, Sharon and adult daughters, Christine Hill and Dawn Kelly, the event has shown steady growth since the first Walk in 2006. “We have more sponsors this year than we have in the past,” says Sharon, “people are asking questions.”

One addition to this year’s event is a silent auction. Bids will be taken from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., and the winners will be announced at 2:00 p.m. Auction items include two footballs, each autographed by 15 Raven’s football players. Dan Zattarelli, who was a good friend of Coach Schipul, donated fishing charters. Other items include Mary Kay products, Longaberger Baskets, Southern Living house wares and more.

The idea to hold a silent auction was suggested at the 2007 Walk and the organizers decided to give it a try. “We are still looking for silent auction items if anyone is interested in donating,” says Sharon.

Channeling energy into raising money to fight ALS has helped with the healing process for both herself and her children, says Sharon. A year-long process, she has a stringent timeline she adheres to that includes procuring insurance, reserving the site, scheduling entertainment, etc. Sharon credits The KIHS Football Staff for help with organizing the event.

In the event of inclement weather, the Walk will take place on September 27th. For more information, contact Dawn Kelly at 410-827-7334, or email Couragewalk@gmail.com. To register in advance, call Sharon at 410-758-2712.

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