While Monday, April 15 was a dark day for many people, especially in Boston, it was one of the best days I’ve ever had. It was also a resounding reminder (much needed that day) that there is good in this world.
When everything is counted, Pints for Parkinson’s — my first fundraiser for the Parkinson’s Unity Walk — will bring in at least $2,000.
I am shocked, surprised, flabbergasted. And I find it hard to describe what that feels like.
It was a night that I will never forget, and that was even more special because of the surprise visit from my parents, and the planned visit of some Parkinson’s warriors who drove all the way from New Jersey just for a few beers.
As my friends can tell you, I was a mess before the event. I had put up fliers, told everyone I could tell, and practically begged strangers to attend. And I was still convinced no one would show.
The day of the event, I was so anxious, I ended up going to York shortly after the news of the Boston Marathon bombings (once I checked in to make sure Team Fox runners were OK).
But from 6 to 10 p.m., the bar was PACKED. Packed full of people who gave me $10 and $20 bills for a $5 beer and told me to keep the change. Packed with people I knew and with those I have never met. And even if they accidentally showed up at the bar during the event, their tips went to our cause.
From the bands who played for free, to the businesses who donated items for door prizes, to the Taste of PA wine festival that did a $500 match, to the bartenders who gave us their tips and worked their butts off… I just can’t thank everyone enough for helping me make this a success.
And to my amazing friends who helped out with fliers, passing out tickets, and dealing with my anxiety … seriously. Amazing.
A few points of the night were really special to me. We did the event in honor of a friend’s grandmother who passed with Parkinson’s after a 30 year battle. Her parents and grandfather also attended the event, and I hope that it was as therapeutic for them as it was for me. A tangible way maybe to express their grief and feel as though they were helping.
John Ryan, Laura and Chris Hanf and Nancy Mulhearn drove all the way from New Jersey to be at the event. Three of them have early-onset Parkinson’s. I’ve only known them for a year (if even), and they came all this way, just for me. Words can’t express how that made me feel.
Then, there was the surprise visit from my parents. They faked a flight back from New Jersey on Sunday, and instead rode down with John and Laura. They walked into the door as I was standing there getting ready to bartend, and I gasped really loudly before crying. Dad’s the reason we’re all doing this, and it was amazing for him to be there and to see the effect he has on me and I can share with others.
I could say that they were the best part of the event, but that wouldn’t be true (not because I don’t love them, obviously).
The best part of the event were the small, mostly unnoticed moments. The local man who has had Parkinson’s for 10 years and never told anyone before that night. Who saw the fliers in Central Market and told me he’d been waiting for something like this. Then there’s the man who I talked to and who said he was only there for the band and my friend’s father to support him. But then later, he messaged me to say his wife was diagnosed with PD last year. I offered my Dad’s information so she had someone to talk to, and gave him some advice. The most important message: They are not alone.
And then, there’s my friend’s grandfather, Farmer Fred. I was so honored he came out to the event in his wife’s honor, especially with it only being a few months since she passed. From what I could see, I think he really benefited from spending time with my dad, John and others. They compared medication notes, symptoms, and talked about what life was like for him as caregiver of 30 years. He was able to say how hard it was, and to be reassured that his efforts were worth it. My Dad kept telling him how much of a hero he is for being a caregiver. And although Fred kept trying to change the subject, they all kept reassuring him. He’s obviously still in a lot of pain over the loss, as he should be. But I hope the night brought him some solace.
I’ve been wrestling with how great the whole night was in light of the bombs in Boston that day. I felt bad for being so happy, and so proud of what we accomplished in York. It all seems like a blur. But I think it’s important to note that people are able to doing good. They are there to help in a disaster like a bombing. And they’re there to support a cause like curing Parkinson’s — whether it be because they’re my friends, they have connections, or they just want to give back. There is good in people, and it’s easy to forget that some times.
Thank you all so much for your support. To Holy Hound, the local businesses who donated, my friends, family, my Parkinson’s family, the York community, and to the Sprenkle family. Thank you.
Let’s keep it up and keep raising money for a cure.