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Western Washington: More Goslabi

March 12, 2009

Quote of the day 1:”Let me get some water, please, now!”—Darius, after eating another spoonful of wasabi.

Quote of the day 2: “I’d have thought you’d have gotten used to it.”—Leo, a student at Sammamish High School who also ate wasabi to help the cause.

After Portland, Darius and crew stayed in the Pacific Northwest with visits in Seattle, Gig Harbor, and Bellevue. We had an awesome hotel room for Darius and a few others, thanks to the generosity of Sarah Reed’s dad, Judy & John Schneider, and Terin Izil. The rest of us bunked with Dave Schneider (thanks, Dave!)

First up: we spread the word about a screening at the University of Washington set up by Sarah Reed (pictured, on the right).

We had some help from Aidan Leffler, whose family was a constant fixture during our time in and around Seattle.

Mindy Leffler (Aidan’s mom, to the right of Sarah above) is a friend of Benjy and Tracy Seckler. She and her husband, Mitch, have done big things in the Seattle area for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Sarah and Muhammed Idris did a great job with the screening. They enlisted UW’s Greek life to help fill out the seats.

In the crowd was Julie Rathburn, from AVI BioPharma in Portland, and Mindy gave her a shout-out.

Thank you, Sarah, Muhammad, Mindy, and Aidan, and UW’s Kappa Delta Sorority, Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity, Beta Theta Pi Fraternity, and Alpha Gamma Delta for the donations and for making the night such a success!

The next morning, we took in some of Seattle’s sights, including Pike Place Market.

By chance, we dropped by a restaurant that turned out to be owned by someone who had been at the screening the night before. She recognized us, gave us all our food for free, and piled more onto our plates.

The Turkish delight was incredible!

Later, we trekked to Gig Harbor for a screening at the Galaxy Theater.

But first, April Quint set us up in the Federal Way Community Center. She brought sandwiches and energy bars as we played basketball, and she even had soap, shampoo, and towels so we could clean up before the movie. We got to meet April’s daughter, Terin, earlier during our Seattle stay. Terin’s going to help us with a Chicago screening in the spring. We can’t wait!

Emily Duppenthaler, center, organized the Gig Harbor screening for class credit. As Logan said: “This is Emily’s senior project, so I hope she gets a really good grade.” She definitely earned an A+.

Emily babysits Micah Hester, and Micah and his parents Janelle (above) and Lance deserve a big shout-out, as do Paula, Addison, and Mark Zenoboio and Mindy, Jacob, and Trevor Colby. All of them helped Emily mobilize a huge, warm audience for the screening.

Thanks also to Galaxy Theater (major props to manager Al Witherspoon and assistant manager, Adrienne) for providing a great venue and to Sara Myron and My Chef Sara, who baked the best fudge brownies of all time as a part of her magnificent catering. Also HUGE thanks to Duane Bishop of Re-Ability Enterprises who built a ramp so Darius could get on stage for the Q&A.

The next day, Jim Dunlap treated us to lunch at Dixie’s Barbecue in Bellevue, WA, where we enjoyed a taste of home. In fact, while in the Seattle area, we were so well cared for by our hosts (meals, lodging, you name it).  From there, we headed to Sammamish High School, which was blanketed in Darius Goes West posters.

Check out the shirts the students designed! They even gave some to the crew that had “VIP” written on the sleeves. Huge props to Ian Duncan and Paul Sutton, two teachers who helped the students organize, and to Ali and Peter and the rest of the student body for being such a huge force.

The students had us set up in a green room with great food and video games…

before we made our way to the crowded school theater.

In fact, Sammamish packed out TWO screenings that day!

Aidan’s dad Mitch is a teacher at Sammamish, and during the question-and-answer sessions he got up on stage to challenge students to complete the “Goslabi challenge.”

Classmates donated hundreds of dollars on the spot to see Eddie and Leo eat wasabi.

Darius also stepped up and gave the students a show…

while Aidan helped collect the donations.

Walk for Aidan is a student-led initiative to raise money for research into a treatment or cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Check out the YouTube video above promoting last year’s Walk for Aidan.

Sammamish’s success with Walk for Aidan (last year they raised over $40,000 and hope to top that this year) shows where Sammamish’s priorities are. “Philanthropy’s kind of our thing here,” says Paul. In fact, Sammamish is the alma mater of both Sarah and Muhammad, our University of Washington hosts.

As Daniel told the audience of the night screening: “Parents, y’all have done a phenomenal job with these students!”

After the Q-and-A, we spent some time in the lobby selling merchandise and spending more time with Sammamish before riding off toward Salt Lake City late into the night.

Thank you so much, Leffler and Schneider family, Colby family, Zenoboio family, the Hesters, the Dunlaps, Sarah, Emily, April, Muhammad, Sammamish, University of Washington, and the communities of Seattle, Bellevue, and Gig Harbor!!

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5 Responses to “Western Washington: More Goslabi”

  1. On March 12th, 2009, Terin (aka "April's Daughter") said:

    Glad you guys enjoyed Washington. Hope you’re resting up for Chi-town!

  2. On March 12th, 2009, Alix (Sammamish High School) said:

    Glad you guys had a good time out here! We loved having you guys at Sammamish and it’s awesome that you’re promoting Walk for Aidan on here, but it’d be even better if you guys were there this year! Anyways, hopefully we’ll see you back in Bellevue in the near future, but until then we’ll be working hard preparing for the Walk and spreading the word about DMD. You’re amazing!

  3. On March 16th, 2009, Sarah Reed said:

    I can’t thank you guys enough for coming to Washington! Hope to see you back soon (and hopefully the weather will be better next time)

  4. On October 25th, 2009, Sara Myron said:

    It was so great to meet all of you in Gig Harbor–I hope you get the chance to return someday!

  5. On February 16th, 2010, Jack Staudt said:

    I just recently was introduced to the world of DGW and saw the WesternWa trip on the web site. I am so sad we missed this as you where all at Dixies - just two blocks down the street from the office of Bridge Disability Ministies and our Mobility Center. In a sense our retired “Boeing Boys” volunteer and work here pimping many rides for folks that cannot afford to buy power chairs like the one Darius drives. While our work is not to fancy - everyone of the 50 free chairs that rolled out of here last year got the job done. We plan on screening the film at a local church soon and we will spread the word. If you all ever get back this way we’ll get you a free wash and tune-up.

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