Parkinson’s can unite us

It’s weird what you don’t know about people and their history until you find that one thing that unites you.

Before Dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, I never really thought about the disease. Sure. Michael J Fox and Muhammed Ali had it, but it never crossed my mind unless I saw them doing an interview.

After Dad started doing golf tournaments three years ago, and we started talking more openly about his disease, I found that way more people than I thought have personal connections to it. It’s way more common than I ever thought it was.

It comes through Facebook comments from people you haven’t heard from in years — like an old college roommate whose parents both have it, to friends with grandmothers who have it, and friends with friends who have it.

I guess it could be said for a lot of diseases. All of my grandparents had cancer, and I’m sure I have that in common with way more people.  There are plenty of diseases and conditions that can unite us, but I guess what’s different about Parkinson’s, is that it’s what I’ve decided to talk about and try to do something about.

Not just me, but my whole family. And because we won’t shut up about it, people are hearing it. People read about my Charity Miles efforts on Twitter and Facebook and they start doing it, too. When I ran a column in our newspaper back in April, I found a lot of people had been following our journey and I didn’t even notice. Same with the video of Dad that Jason Plotkin did. 

Friends donate money to my Dad’s tournament, and randomly send me notes thanking me for inspiring them to care and to participate.

It’s a pretty powerful thing. Something I struggle with finding the words to describe.

So thanks for listening, reading, seeing posts, whatever you do. And thanks for encouraging me to keep talking about Parkinson’s. Because I really do think one day soon we’ll find a cure. And we can all play a small part.


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