What a great day in Hot Springs, Arkansas! I had been contacted by Joy Scott, who lost her beloved husband to NET cancer not long ago. She made me feel welcome in Hot Springs before I even got there! She took me out to dinner the night before and I was heartbroken to hear her husband's story.
Mayor McCabe also contacted me and asked if I needed anything at all and that he would be there that morning. He is a member of the local running club, The Spa Pacers, and said many of the group wanted to come and support the cause.
The Hot Springs Sentinel did an interview and sent a photojournalist the morning we all met.
The Park Rangers were welcoming and asked to know more. One of them pictured below is a cancer survivor (not NETs) and she couldn't have been more supportive.
These people had no connection to NET cancer, (except for Joy and her family) but they wanted to come and show their support. This has never happened before. To say I was deeply touched by their kindness and good hearts would be an understatement. It still makes me misty eyed when I recall the day. The people of Hot Springs are incredible and I am most grateful to them! I can't wait to go back and visit someday.
We all met in front of the Fordyce Visitor Center for pictures and got ready to head out on the trail. I have to apologize to the entire group here, as I really wasn't feeling well and had no spark in my steps. Found out a few days later that my Potassium levels were dangerously low and making my heart malfunction. Doing fine now.
The entire magnificent group!
Joy Scott (3rd from the right) and her beautiful family.
Their shirts say "Just CURE it." Couldn't agree more.
The Honorable (and wonderful) Mayor McCabe
Ranger Lissa and Teddy
Hot Springs National Park is unique because of it's setting. It is the center of the city. The hills behind it are filled with trails and gorgeous vistas. I wish I would have had time to do them all!
Usually hot spring areas are associated with volcanoes, not so here. Outcroppings form an arc from the northeast around to the east of the city and collect rainfall. The pores and fractures in the outcroppings channel the water deep into Earth where it is heated and percolates back up to become the famous Hot Springs.
Native Americans started using the springs as far back as late 1700's. By the early 1900's it had become super popular with tourists and health-seekers. Bathhouse Row had bathhouses that catered from the budget minded to the big-spenders. The Visitor Center is housed in one such bathhouse called The Fordyce. It is a marvelous museum of how many bathhouses looked in it's heyday.
This is the Fordyce. Let me take you inside and look around.
Mosaics and stained glass were heavily used in the more luxurious bathhouses.
Let's go back outside and explore! In addition to "hot" springs, there are "cold" springs where you can fill up on delicious water.
Of course, there have to be pictures of flowers.
I need to share just one more thing with you. Many of you know that Anna's favorite Bible verse (and the way she lived her short life) was "Be Strong & Courageous, do not be terrified, for the Lord your God is with you" Joshua 1:9. While we waiting for everyone to get there in the morning, I spotted a woman walking up the sidewalk with a shirt on the said "Strong and Courageous". It hit me hard and I started to cry. The woman approached me after the run and apologized if she upset me and so I told her the story and showed her Anna's remembrance bracelet that I and many other people always wear.
"Anna Rose Schaenzle - Be Strong & Courageous!"
She pulled out a shirt just like hers and said that she felt she was supposed to give it to me that day. I was deeply touched by her gift and will cherish it always. For it isn't just Anna's motto for her personal life; it was her message to all of us...
Be Strong & Courageous!
Yeah, I started crying again.