By Stacey Mann
Executive Director, Promises for Parkinson’s
“Dad, did you have too much coffee this morning?”, I hesitantly inquired. Something was wrong – he knew it and I knew it. But he ended the conversation quickly, “Yeah, something like that.”
A month went by before I noticed it again. Three more months went by and finally the diagnosis came. Even though we had an inclination of what it could be, hearing the words “Parkinson’s disease” made us all stop and reevaluate.
That was almost five years ago. Each day, Parkinson’s poses a new challenge for my father, as it does for over one million Americans. Building model rockets for his grandchildren, creating beautiful furniture out of pieces of wood and capturing the world around him in breathtaking photographs have all been shelved due to Parkinson’s.
Determined to help my father with his battle, I began researching Parkinson’s. I had no idea that Parkinson’s affects more people in the United States than multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and ALS combined. Why could I not find walks and runs supporting Parkinson’s? Where were the silver ribbons on people’s lapels? Something needed to be done. Something that would bring hope to my father — take the camera and woodworking tools from the shelves and put them back into his hands — remove the fear that he was now seen only as someone with Parkinson’s, instead of the incredible man he is.
Summoning the courage and strength I inherited from my father, I began the journey that is Promises for Parkinson’s. A non-profit dedicated to bringing hope to Parkinson’s disease patients, Promises for Parkinson’s supports scientific research that aims for a cure and a better way of life for those living with the disease by planning various public events that incite others to help make a difference.
I am excited about our first big event: Hike the Park for Parkinson’s. I feel that we will make a positive impact on the lives of those living with Parkinson’s. Hike the Park for Parkinson’s is set to take place on September 4, 2010 in Oregon Ridge Park. Participate with us in one of two ways. Hike the James Campbell trail, a 2.9 mile trek including the famous Oregon Ridge ski slope or register as a Loop Walker, which takes you around a paved, fairly flat .5 mile path. Special activities on hike day include motivating music, artists painting scenes of the day and a children’s area with carnival style games and prizes. Promises for Parkinson’s is proud to donate the proceeds raised by Hike the Park for Parkinson’s to Maryland’s Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorder Center.
Join us, won’t you? Register to hike today by visiting www.hikethepark.org and help me conquer Parkinson’s disease one hiking boot at a time!