Team Lucy presents: A walk around Esmann Island 2015

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Members of Team Lucy 2014 included, front from left, Joe and Mary Mellon, Mary Eulberg, Cindy Miller, Becky Hefel, Tonya Schaefer, and Heather Reyerson; back row, Isaac Eulberg, Rick Eulberg, Chris Miller, Roger Hefel, and Tony Reyerson. “There are hundreds of people doing the walk, some relatives/friends of people with the disease, some with the disease. I was amazed at my emotion seeing many in scooters like Lucy had - but I know she would be so proud of Tony for doing this,” said Becky Hefel, sister of the late Lucy Smith Reyerson. (Photo submitted)

By Molly Moser

“The things I remember the most about mom would be her generosity, her quick wit, the endless smile, open arms, and her passion for being a great mother,” says Tony Reyerson of his late mother, Lucy Smith Reyerson. “But most of all, she was my best friend.”

Doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester diagnosed Lucy with multiple sclerosis in 1989. On Jan. 11, 2000, she passed away from pneumonia and complications of the disease. This year, Lucy’s family and friends have organized a walk around Esmann Island to honor her memory and fundraise for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

When Tony decided to join the MS volunteer committee in his home city of LaCrosse, he learned of a group in Platteville, Wis., who raised $25,000 by hosting a private walk in their town. “That’s what sparked this idea,” he says. “I mentioned it to my wife, Heather, and my mother-in-law, Mary Eulberg. Mary being the go-getter she is, took right off with it and started making some connections.”

“Our mission behind this walk is to raise awareness for those in our community fighting MS and to raise money to go toward MS research,” said Reyerson’s wife, Heather (Hefel) Reyerson. She and her mother join many others each year for LaCrosse’s Walk MS event as part of Team Lucy.  

“In 2012, Heather and I walked the first walk here in LaCrosse,” he told The Press. The couple posted photos of their walk online, which garnered interest from other family and friends who joined the next walk. Team Lucy has grown to 12-15 people, and in 2014 the team raised nearly $4,000 to improve the lives of people living with MS through programs, services and research. Each year, the goal of the LaCrosse event is to raise $100,000.

The 2-4 mile walk around Esmann Island will be held on Saturday, April 11. The maxim for the walk is, "Because no man is an island, we walk for those who cannot.” Jackie Spielbauer, a friend of Lucy’s and resident of Guttenberg, is being honored as the Person of Endurance for the 2015 walk. 

Lucy and her husband, Harlen, raised three children in Guttenberg: Tony, who graduated from Guttenberg High School in 1990, Robbie Reyerson Nelson of Plover, Wis., and the late Kelly Crubaugh of Guttenberg. There are six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren (with one more on the way). 

“She had many other children besides Robbie, Kelly, and myself,” said Tony. “She was a second mother to many of our cousins and friends who loved her deeply.” Lucy was a homemaker and babysitter who also worked for the school district, transporting special needs students between Guttenberg and Garnavillo. “I sometimes run into a couple of mom’s “other children” from her babysitting era, who are quick to tell a story of mom and tell me how much she meant to them,” Tony told The Press.

The community is invited to walk in remembrance of Lucy and anyone else with MS. Donations are welcome but not required, and will count toward Team Lucy’s fundraising efforts for the walk in LaCrosse, which will be held April 25. Sign-in begins at 8:30 a.m. and the walk begins at 9:00 a.m. from 401 Riverview Road on Esmann Island. Refreshments will follow. 

Questions can be directed to Heather Reyerson at 608-792-3207 or Mary Eulberg at 563-252-3886. To donate to Team Lucy, visit www.nationalmssociety.org, click donate, and search for Team Lucy. 

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