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Paul and I are participating for our 7th year in the Parkinson’s Foundation Moving Day Tampa Bay. Moving Day is an inspiring and empowering annual fundraising walk event that unites people around the country living with Parkinson’s disease (PD), their care partners and loved ones to help beat PD. Moving Day is more than just a walk. It’s a celebration of movement – proven to help manage Parkinson’s symptoms. This year’s event is an in-person event and scheduled for Saturday, April 30, 2022 at Al Lopez Park in Tampa.
Most, if not all, reading this letter will remember those now infamous words “it depends on what the meaning of is "is.” Please let me tell you what Parkinson’s Disease is.
Parkinson’s is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement, motor and non-motor.
Parkinson’s is one of the most complex diseases to treat.
Parkinson’s is incurable and only has symptom medication.
Parkinson’s is still treated with L-Dopa as the mainstay and it was discovered over 50 years ago.
Parkinson’s Disease is relentless and robs your loved one of routine motor and non-motor functions.
2021 was a challenging year and started with family loss for both of us. My mom died in January at age 89 and then Paul’s dad passed in April at the age of 101. We were now orphans for the first time in our lives and realized we needed to take stock of what is important. As Paul enters year 7 with Parkinson’s, we know we cannot sit on the sidelines and keep our lives on pause. I assure you Parkinson’s doesn’t give two hoots about COVID and has not paused its assault on Paul. Every day, he deals with the increasing effects of slowness, stiffness and tremor but the non-motor effects are becoming even more impactful on Paul’s life. These include difficulty swallowing, drooling, sleep issues, soft voice, speech slurring, loss of facial expression, etc. And they will only continue to progress as there is still no treatment that will halt or slow this horrible disease. Exercise continues to be one of the leading ways to help slow the progression. But there is promising research that gives us hope. And yes, HOPE and EXERCISE continue to be our strategy when it comes to dealing with this progressive, incurable neurological disorder.
Well, enough of our challenges, on to some happy stuff in 2021. We finally reunited with family after 19 months. Our granddaughter, Rebecca, was 9 when we last saw her in person and she was 11 ½ when we finally got to hug the stuffing out of her. We spent a week on the Maine coast then took a National Park trip out west. We travelled to Iowa to lay Paul’s dad to rest and connected with family members that Paul had not seen for years. We ended our 2021 travel going home to New England to celebrate Thanksgiving with family. But most importantly, we celebrated 1 year of wedded bliss!
Paul‘s attitude towards PD is not only inspiration but one of acceptance. He approaches acceptance by understanding that Parkinson’s is what it is and you have to find a way through it. He has accepted it, probably better than me, and he remains determined not to let Parkinson’s define his life. Paul knows that movement and physical exercise are the best weapons to fight the progression. Paul is out the door at 3:30AM for a 3 mile walk/run, as I mentioned, there are sleep issues. Then at 6:00AM, Paul and I head out on a 12-mile bike ride followed by balance yoga, stretching and other PD exercises. And that’s the Monday through Friday regiment. On the weekend, we are out the door at daylight for a 12-25 mile bike ride with a stop at Dunkin’s for coffee and a bagel. We pumped those bike peddles almost 4,500 miles in 2021. Paul continues to be my inspiration and my perspiration. We both need to keep moving to face this horrible disease.
Again this year, I will captain Paul’s Peloton with a fundraising goal of $10,000. Paul has committed to match my total donations dollar for dollar up to $5,000. I would appreciate your donation to Paul’s Peloton and the fight against Parkinson’s Disease. The Parkinson’s Foundation makes life better for people with Parkinson’s disease by improving care and advancing research toward a cure. Thank you in advance for your generosity. And PLEASE GET MOVING, YOUR HEALTH DEPENDS ON IT!
Thank you for reading Paul’s story and your consideration in helping Paul & I achieve our goal to beat Parkinson’s. Please check out our team page and my personal page by clicking on the link below. Just click on the DONATE button next to my name, Cheryl Avery. And remember, KEEP ON MOVING!