Dressing up and raising money for a great cause

John Ryan, Nancy Mulhearn and me!
I’m pretty sure that to most people, my weekend was a little crazy. Not crazy because I’m a party animal, but crazy because I drove a total of 7 hours for a 5 hour event hosted by someone I didn’t even know.

While we’ve never met, I know Nancy Mulhearn. She has young-onset Parkinson’s. And she’s so brave, and so funny, and she’s not letting Parkinson’s take everything from her. She’s fighting back and raising money. And she’s my dad’s friend (even though they’ve never met either).

So Saturday morning, I drove up to New Jersey to stay with John and Barbara Ryan (other warriors in the fight against PD and AMAZING people), so I could attend Nancy’s dinner and silent auction for Team Fox.

Don’t even get me started on the awesomeness of the Ryans. Seriously. John and Dad both have PD, and they are both superheroes about it. They help others first. They raise money. And they build each other back up. And Barbara, is so supportive and wonderful. Even though I only met them once last April, I feel like they’re old family friends.

So getting to visit and attend Nancy’s party with them was an extra treat.

There are plenty of details about the event I could share. There was music, food, drinks, dancing, items to auction off. But above all things, that building was filled with so much LOVE.

It’s a feeling I felt at Dad’s first golf tournament, where your heart just feels so full. These people (about 150-200 of them) were there for Nancy. But they were also there for John, and my new friend Laura who was there. And my dad. It may have seemed like to them it was just for Nancy, their friend — To have dinner, dance, and buy some things. But Nancy raises A LOT of money, and it’s that money that will help us find a cure.

I had the honor of representing my family, and sitting at the Team Fox table with new and newer friends — all with the common goal. There just aren’t words to represent it.

But maybe I can show you:
When Nancy was coming out and hugging the Ryans (who she knows well), I almost went to introduce myself, but Nancy grabbed me and hugged me and screaming out my name. She found me a few more times in the night just to hug me and thank me again for coming. Laura, when I met her, she said Dad told her to look out for me because they talk on the phone. Hell, Dad and Nancy have never met. But we’re a family. A family, that has the Ryans putting me up in their guest bedroom about a week after they got power back from Hurricane Sandy. A family that let me sleep in and made me waffles for breakfast! (I love waffles)

And I have to admit, I almost cried during the pastor’s blessing. He said to watch over those with Parkinson’s, their spouses, their parents, their children — we’re all fighting the battle in different ways. Let them be there for each other.

His most powerful part?

“Thank you for the people w Parkinson’s who remind us while the body may fail, the mind and spirit are strong.”

It’s those people like Dad, Nancy, Laura, and John. Talk about spirit.

Thank you for letting me be a part of it.


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