Name of Event: Ice Age 50 miler
Date of Event: May 11, 2013
A few years ago, my dad (EO) slipped on some acorns and fell while walking in from the garage, breaking his ankle. The healing process took a long time, and through the process, he was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. As it turns out, he had had mis-diagnosed symptoms for about five years before that, like stumbling occasionally on the steps. His doctor told him "to pick up his feet." EO's still pretty pissed and bitter about that.
The symptoms have increased fairly dramatically since the diagnosis. Used to frequent travelling with my mother, he did not slow down, and their schedule wore him out. He got sick, and walking became more difficult. He didn't want to tell anyone that he had Parkinson's, and allowed others to think he was "just getting old." He and my mother moved into a retirement community a couple of years ago. EO uses a walker now as his mobility has decreased significantly.
I started running when I was 21 years old, needing some kind of outlet while taking a semester off from college to try to locate the motivation I needed to finish school. My younger brother had taken up track and cross country in high school, and within a couple of years his three brothers had all followed. I felt good and strong from the beginning, and now, 28 years later, I've run on two continents, 47 states, in hundreds of races, and into my second marriage.
Around the same time EO fell, some friends and I decided to run an overnight relay as an ultra team. Six of us split 205 miles through the Smoky Mountains, on trails, dirt roads and backcountry paved roads. The experience left us with the long-distance bug, and I and my two best friends signed up for ultra-marathons, races of longer than 26.2 miles. Now, after three 50ks with more on my schedule, and approaching my fiftieth birthday, I decided to run a fifty-mile race while fifty years old.
As I worked out the details of my endeavor, I sought a way to make this whole thing mean something more. Raising money to benefit the research going on to understand and cure Parkinson's Disease was an easy leap. Now I'm running as a member of Team Fox, the Michael J. Fox Foundation's (MJFF) grassroots community fundraising program. It is made up of thousands of people worldwide who raise funds and awareness for Parkinson's disease research. All funds raised through Team Fox go directly to MJFF to further its mission to accelerate the delivery of life-changing treatments, and ultimately a cure, to people with Parkinson's disease.
Five million people worldwide are living with Parkinson's disease -- a chronic, degenerative neurological disorder. In the United States, 60,000 new cases will be diagnosed this year alone. There is no known cure for Parkinson's disease. My dad is just one of them. This project is something I can do for him, and for all those who suffer from the disease.
Help us speed a cure for Parkinson's!