I was out celebrating St. Patrick’s Day Sunday and chatting with a friend when the father of one my my friends walked up to me. It’s his mother that I’m hosting the Pints for Parkinson’s for, after she died recently after 30 years with Parkinson’s.
I stopped chatting with the friend to take a few minutes and thank him for letting me host the event in her honor, and asked how he was doing. We talked music and other things for the event, and he went on his way.
The other friend then turned to me and asked “How do you do it?”
I didn’t know what she was talking about and she added, “that. What you did right there.” All that stuff for Parkinson’s?
Maybe it was the few beers I had before then. Or maybe it was just the question. But I stood there for a second not really knowing how to answer.
The answer I had felt inadequate: You just do.
I’ve been thinking about it a bit since then, and I’ve talked about it some with my Dad. He joked I do it because it’s in my genes.
He said what we’re doing — the walk, the fundraiser — that we’re the ones that never get the thank yous. But I don’t want thank yous . I don’t mind them, but that’s not what it’s about.
I’m not sure I still have the eloquent answer I should have given that night, but I do know one thing…
I do it because I can. Because it’s something I can do.
I don’t know what it’s like to wake up every day and have Parkinson’s. I don’t know what it’s like to be scared about your health and your future. To wonder if a cure is going to come in your lifetime.
But I know what it’s like to love someone in that position. To want to do everything you can to help make it a little better and support others.
An example: We heard today that our good friend John Ryan’s mother just passed away. Immediately, I was on Facebook telling him how sorry I was, and texting my father to let him know. He then went on and posted comments on a few of John’s statuses, and then went on to Emily and my Unity Walk pages to donate additional money in her honor. It’s not much, but it’s something to let him know we’re here.
I would have never thought that I would be asking people for money for a fundraiser. It’s easy to ask for Dad’s fundraiser, but harder to ask for mine. But I’m doing it, because you suck it up and you just do.
This whole thing inspired me to do something else next month since April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month. (Here’s a sneak peek.)
We will be asking you — yes, you! — to email or submit your response to the same question: How do you do it? How do you get up every day and fight Parkinson’s?
We’ll be donating a certain amount of money for each submission to go toward the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Details are still being worked out, but start thinking about it now.