I get my stubbornness from my dad. It has served me well many times in my life; times when I didn’t give up on something, and times when I stuck to my guns and followed through on what I believed in. I’m counting on my stubbornness to get me through my IronMan because I do not want to quit. What I am told by any amateur or professional triathlete who has raced the distance is this: there will come a point when you will doubt your capacity and when you will want to stop. I am counting on my stubbornness, the one I got from my dad, to get me out of that hell and push me to the finish line.
My dad is stubborn because he insists he can do things he no longer can. If I need to carry something he volunteers to carry it for me. If someone needs help, he will say he will do it. When traveling this summer he insisted he could go on any day trip we planned. He will not go through the door if I open it for him, I must go first. He is a stubborn gentleman after all.
He wants to be able to carry that suitcase but he can’t because he has Parkinsons. He knows what that means because his father had Parkinsons too.
Parkinsons is a weird disease. It has no known cause, it is not genetic (though 15% of patients have a first degree relative with the disease), it has no real diagnosis and no cure. The diagnosis comes from a slew of symptoms that together allows the Doctor to tell you what you don’t want to hear: “you have Parkinsons.” But then there is always that doubt that in time your symptoms will change and well, it wasn’t Parkinsons after all. To find out more about Parkinsons disease you can read here and here.
When you get that diagnosis there is a feeling of powerlessness. What do you do? No cure. No solution. You just know that you are in for a long ride. As a patient you have a set of difficulties, and as a caretaker you have another set of circumstances to deal with as the disease progresses and though symptoms may be addressed, neurological damage never regresses.
My father was diagnosed about ten years ago, and I’ve been lucky to be around him during this time. Yet he is a very private man, and won’t appreciate my sharing with all of you about his life and so the point here is not to focus on his health issues but in what I can do about it.
I can move, and in 2010 I began moving towards a healthier life. So I feel like I can do something and have decided to race my IronMan in my father’s honor while raising funds for the National Parkinsons Foundation whose mission is:
to improve the quality of Parkinson’s care through research, education and outreach.
I want there to be a cure, and if there is no cure I want those afflicted with Parkinsons and their families to have a place to turn to for guidance, help, support and resources. The foundation does exactly that.
I am pledging $3,400: $3,000 for the three daughters he has and $100 for each of his four grandchildren. You can help by donating to my National Parkinsons Foundation page. Any pledge, big or small, is appreciated.
Soon you will also be able to purchase TriathlonMami apparel customized by SeeMeInTheDark.com. 50% of all apparel sales will also be donated to the foundation. We will have shirts, tank tops, totes and hats.
You will receive a donation receipt for both.
I know that when I’m in the thick of it during the IronMan on November 2, I will be thinking about my father and those afflicted by Parkinsons. And I will call on his stubbornness to beat the part inside of me that wants to quit. He keeps on fighting his disease, the foundation keeps fighting to find a cure, I will fight to finish and honor them both.
I hope you too will help beat Parkinsons.