Hard to believe it’s been a year: scholars, musicians and another trek
One year ago, I began the greatest journey of my life, a 500-mile walk on the Camino de Santiago. It was a personal challenge and a time of great peace and reflection. I am so grateful to all of you who shared my walk, supporting me with daily messages of encouragement and love. Since a year has passed, I thought it was time for an update.
First, I’d like to announce that on Thursday, the first two Sam Deford Scholars graduated from the University of Colorado. This is the scholarship program that was funded by your heartfelt and generous contributions. Both graduates are members of CU’s Collegiate Recovery Center, which provided them with resources and personal support in dealing with substance use challenges. Devin, who graduated with a degree in Biochemistry, plans to go into the medical field. Sean is a Chemical Engineering graduate, who will begin a PhD program this fall. I am incredibly proud of these young men. They have achieved academic success, while overcoming great obstacles. In speaking with them, it became clear how important the scholarships were in relieving the pressure they faced with the demands of school, work and continuing recovery.
In another update, I heard recently from Zach Lambert. Zach is the young musician whom we entrusted with Sam’s prized possession, his Paul Reed Smith guitar. (See August 17, 2018 post) He is now studying jazz guitar at Towson University. He’s loving it and performing every chance he gets. Zach reports that he plays Sam’s guitar for up to 9 hours a day. People often ask him about the instrument, which is a striking blue green. He tells them Sam’s story and how we passed the instrument along to keep his music alive. We are so happy to know that Sam’s musical legacy, embodied in this guitar, is going strong.
I am still walking, just about every day, and currently preparing for a 5-day hiking/camping trip in the Grand Canyon. I am going with a group of women, organized by Micki, my Camino friend. Since I haven’t been camping in a while, I have had to get educated on the tricky gear requirements of this trip. My pack has expanded to include a tent, inflatable sleeping mat, a stove and some ghastly dehydrated food. While the added weight is intimidating, even more so are the nearly vertical ascents and descents that I will face while carrying it, not to mention, navigating the narrow cliff edge trails! My flatland training will surely prove to be inadequate. I’ll take it at my own pace. So what if I’m the last one into the campsite each evening? That’s what headlamps are for!
I wish all of you well. May your journeys be joyful.