Band of brothers and sisters united by Parkinson’s

Parkinson’s is the gift that keeps on taking. That is a true statement, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Sometimes it gives us more than it takes.

I have developed close relationships with people I have never met in person. Fellow travelers negotiating the PD highway. Close bonds develop quickly when you communicate, either by telephone or on the Internet, with others who have PD. It seems to be a shared understanding of the daily trials and tribulation associated with the disease.

It’s almost cathartic.

There are many examples. Recently I noticed a post on a YOPD website, organized by Bret Parker, where one of the members was awake in the middle of the night and reaching out for someone to talk to. There were more than 20 replies. I went to sleep but the connection, the support needed, was there, and continued into the wee hours of the morning.

Last week, I met Bret for the first time and we talked together for about an hour. We spoke of personal things as if we had known each other forever. There was an immediate unspoken connection. Not that we both had this disease, but that we shared a common optimism, and the belief that we were going to “Kick PD’s ass.”

Bob and John Ryan at April’s MJFF Most Valuable People ceremony in NYC.

Another “old” friend is John Ryan. John and I met in New York last March at the Michael J Fox Foundation. We were there for mentor training. I was drawn to him because of his constant smile and giving nature. Since then we have talked periodically, and it always seems to be when one of us needs a lift up.

I could go on with examples where someone has needed a lift and there have been many there offering to help. It may be me one time, and you another.
So, what are we – a Parkinson’s nation? I don’t think so. We are not defined by this disease.

It is more like a band of brothers and sisters, who share a common journey. Like a highway, some of us are in the fast lane and some in the slow lane. Each journey is different, but somehow the same. We are kindred spirits. We share a common goal, the cure. We are quietly here for each other, rising up when needed. Letting our brothers and sisters know they are not alone.
Thank you for all you give to me and know in your heart of hearts


Two shoes on again.


About bobharmon49

Parkinson’s Cure Research Funding, Inc. (“PCRF”) was founded in November, 2010 as a non-profit corporation dedicated to raising money for Parkinson’s disease research and patient support. The corporation’s main fundraising event is an annual golf tournament held in April at the Lake Ashton community in Winter Haven and Lake Wales, Florida. Proceeds from the event have been donated to the Michael J Fox Foundation. Prior to forming PCRF the first golf tournament was held in April 2009 and we raised $12,000. The second tournament in April 2010 raised $27,000. Our next tournament will be held on April 7, 2012. At each of the first two golf outings, 215 players filled the two 18 hole golf courses at Lake Ashton. PCRF was founded by Bob and Cecily Harmon. Bob was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2006 and is still very active playing golf and working to help find a cure for PD through fund-raising. He has recently been named to the Southwest Florida Regional Council of the Michael J Fox Foundation. Their mission is to drive ideas about local engagement opportunities to increase Parkinson’s Disease awareness, enhance education efforts and connect with untapped resources to develop the overall expansion of the Fox Foundation in Florida. The Harmon’s facilitate the Lake Ashton Parkinson’s Outreach Group which supports local Parkinson’s patients and their care partners. The group meets on the first Friday of every month at 10am at Lake Ashton and is open to the Parkinson’s community in the general public.

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