Why We Walk: Team Papo
As we inch closer to our 2023 Unite for Bleeding Disorders Walk on June 18, we asked Team Captains to share why they walk with NYCHC every year. Read Mily’s story below.
Get involved in our Walk by forming your own team, registering to participate as an individual, or placing a donation at www.nychcwalk.org.
My dad passed away in his 40s, when I was 16. We had such a special bond, especially when it came to the Mets and baseball. As I have gotten older, I have been able to better understand hemophilia much more than I ever did growing up. I admire my father’s strength. He endured so many challenges from complications from his hemophilia.
Now, fast forward a few years.My husband, Harry, and I gave birth to our son, whose nickname is Papo. Like his Grandpa, our son has hemophilia. While I am an avid Mets fan, Harry is a Yankees fan. Ever since my son was born, he has received tons of Mets and Yankees gear. I spent years worrying about what team our son would select as he got older. Loyalty is everything in our family. My family has always been Mets fans, and Harry is loyal to the New York Yankees. But regardless, both my dad and Harry are most loyal to our family as fathers.Harry has been a terrific caretaker in addition to being an awesome husband.
Harry has been a full-time caretaker for our son since he was just two years old. Harry, like many fathers in the bleeding disorders community, has acquired new skills and taken on additional responsibilities as a result of our Papo having a bleeding disorder—like adapting family life to the demands of his condition, adjusting our budgets to contend with other expenses and our medical expenses, and so much more. He has come to terms with the bleeding disorder and its effects on our family. In addition, there were and still are invisible tasks he had to do, like promoting and maintaining friendships, searching for appropriate services, advocating for our son and the care he deserved, changing priorities, staying physically and mentally healthy, seeking and accepting help, not being afraid or embarrassed to ask questions, and a combination of personal, financial, psychosocial, socio ecological and clinical factors that come into play while having a child with a chronic health condition.
And speaking of loyalty, when it comes to the Walk for our bleeding disorders community, our Family, and our team, Team Papo, has been involved since 2007 when our son was three years old. We are committed to paying it forward and volunteering as much as possible. Loyalty comes in with rain or shine, through the global pandemic and virtual walks, and on good days and bad. Our son is in college now, yet we still are invested in the Chapter, and we remain loyal to the Walk, year after year, because of what it means to our family, and our community.
We walk for our Papo. We walk in memory of my dad. We walk for our entire community.
This year, it is only fitting that the New York City Hemophilia Chapter’s Unite for Bleeding Disorders Walk is on Father’s Day, outside of Citi Field, at Flushing Meadows.To all the fathers out there; we see you at all the educational events, walks and meetings; we see all you do for your children and your families; we appreciate you. I am looking forward to walking with you all on June 18, then marching over to Citi Field to enjoy a Mets Game. I’ll be rooting for the Mets, of course. So today, to all the dads, have a ball because you deserve it.