Bowling over Parkinson’s with my Team Fox friends

The group of everyone with Parkinson's at Laura's event.
The group of everyone with Parkinson’s at Laura’s event.

This past weekend was just what the doctor ordered. I drove up to New Jersey for a visit with my Team Fox family. I can’t explain how awesome these people are, and what spending time with them does for my soul.

Laura Hanf held an amazing event, Bowl over Parkinson’s. Dad told me if I broke 100, he’d give Laura a dollar per point. I actually bowled a 99, how about that. Of course Dad was nice enough to fund that, and my extra point I lost somewhere in the gutter.

Not only was it a great day of fundraising (Laura hit her goal for the foundation), but it was even better for fellowship. Laura introduced the crowd to the 11 others there with Parkinson’s, but she told a personal story about each. Many of these people, she only knew through the online support system, and had just met for the first time in person. It was amazing to see.

Work’s been hard lately, as we gear up for switching our print and web system. It’s something that happens every 20 years. I swear it’s completely taken over my life, even when I’m at home. So it was great to get away and spend time with my second family, if I couldn’t see my parents and Emily.

There’s something about the love and support in Team Fox that I can’t put into words. Just being able to spend time with the Ryans, Nancy, Laura and Chris, Steph and Haley, Ingo and his family, and all the others I met, really lifted my spirit to get through the work hump.

I guess to try and explain it, I’ll just give you one of the most powerful moments of the day.

At dinner, I was sitting at one end with the Ryans and Nancy. The woman on the other side of John asked him if I was their daughter. He said no, and asked if she knew Bob Harmon, adding I was his daughter. The woman stood up shocked and started to cry, almost not believing I was who I said I was. I went to hug her as she cried, and told me that my father reached out to her online when she was going through a really rough patch. He was the first person who commented in the support group, saying if she needed someone to lift her up … if she needed some support, she could draw from him and my mother.

Needless to say, it really stuck with her. So later in the evening, I took her outside and we facetime’d my parents. It was a highly emotional moment, as Dad and Mom got to see Beth for the first time, and she was able to thank them for their support.

I don’t know how Parkinson’s does it. I really don’t know what it is about this or any disease that brings together such an amazing, supporting group of people. They care so much about each and every person they come across. It’s always an honor to be in their presence.

Later on the phone, Dad thanked me for going and being his ambassador. To remind all the Team Foxers that they are always in my parents’ thoughts. But really, that Team Fox family does more for me that I do for them. So thank you Dad for letting us be a part of this. And thank you Laura for hosting such an amazing event that reminded me how important family is — blood or not.

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