Understanding PD
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Living Well With PD
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Clinical Trials
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I watched in disbelief as the elderly runner, complete with entourage, sped past us. This was no ordinary participant in the Toronto Waterfront Marathon, it was Fauja Singh, and at the age of 101, he was running his 9th marathon. Although he had completed the full marathon at the age of 100, he was only planning to complete 5 km this time around (that’s about 4.9 km more than I can run!). I used his example to motivate my children who, along with other members of our “Designing A Cure” team, were at the beginning of our 5 km walk in the pouring rain. Our goal - to raise awareness and the funds so necessary for Parkinson’s research, community support and advocacy.

This experience, like many in my life, taught me a great deal. First of all, it demonstrated to me the immense support of family and friends that I am blessed with. Within a very short period of time, we were able to raise over $16,000 through their generous donations. Not to mention the dedication of those that braved the horrible weather to walk with our family and the many others who had intended to participate but were unable to do so for a variety of reasons.
To say that I am simply grateful for the circle of support and understanding that I am surrounded with, would be a complete understatement.

It also showed me the resilience of my children. I’ve written before how I believe Parkinson’s has been a life lesson for my daughters. I feel it has taught them empathy, kindness and compassion as was evidenced by their complaint - free wake up at 5 AM and their smiles despite the cold, wet conditions. Actually to my surprise, all the children that day, my nieces, nephews and friends’ children included, never faltered or complained but continued forward, carrying banners, making their way to the finish line (and the pancakes and hot chocolate that awaited them!).

And walking amongst the crowd of participants, with their different signs and colorful t-shirts and costumes, so obviously passionate about the cause they represented, further amplified my feeling of hope and restored my sense of faith in the goodness of others. One that is difficult to feel at times given the state of the world today. In stark contrast to the negativity and violence that the media seems to feed on, it was evident that there are many people trying their best to make a positive difference in the lives of those who are facing a variety of challenges and issues. It was truly inspiring.

Most fundamentally, participating in this marathon really served to confirm what I have always believed -
that proactivity is a key component of living well with this disease. There is nothing worse than a feeling of helplessness, or loss of control in what does appear a lot of the time, to be an uncontrollable situation. But by participating in events like this or other fundraising opportunities, clinical trials etc., we can take back some measure of control and be part of that vital treatment development process. The feeling of empowerment that ensues is what allows us to move forward, to become advocates and voices for our Parkinson’s family. Through our collective proactivity, we can reach our goal and contribute to what all those in our community dream of - a life free of limitations, a life free of Parkinson’s for ourselves and generations to come.
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