Category Archives: Your stories

Supporting the cause by supporting a new Team Fox family member

Lately I’ve felt like I haven’t really been contributing much to the cause. I find myself in more of a background role, itching to get started again on a new Parkinson’s project.

Emily and I went up to Morristown, N.J., recently for a friend’s fundraiser, and I was telling Stephanie, from the Michael J. Fox Foundation how I was feeling. She reminded me that in supporting those people and getting others involved in the cause, I’m still doing something amazing.

The next week, I really got to see this in action at the Philadelphia Marathon. And I’m so grateful.

Continue reading Supporting the cause by supporting a new Team Fox family member

Our words are a gift

Photo collage from donttouchheart on Instagram done by Daily Record/Sunday News
Photo collage from donttouchheart on Instagram done by Daily Record/Sunday News

A few weeks ago, my friend who writes for our paper sent me an obituary he saw in the Hanover paper. I read obituaries every day looking for “news stories” and this one had a link in it. It was for a 28-year-old woman and had a link to her blog.

It starts out:

As many of my friends on facebook know, I was thinking about having a new outlet to let out some of my feelings through my journey with cancer. I was worried about a few details with this — one being I am a poor writer. I am not kidding when I say this — I am worst then a skier with a fear of snow. Each post will take me a very long time — so I ask you to please ignore the poor grammar and style that I have.
I hope this can provide something as insight to my friends and maybe guide others who are going through the same thing that I am. Either way I am going to give this my best shot.
— April 29, 2013

I knew from that moment that this was going to be a powerful story (turned out to be the best he’s written in my opinion) and one with am important message I try to reinforce with my family and you — the readers of this blog.
Continue reading Our words are a gift

NYC Marathon — No. 3 in Bob’s life’s best moments

The Team Fox 5 approach the mile 23 cheering section.
The Team Fox 5 approach the mile 23 cheering section.

Almost two years ago, I met a man through the Michael J Fox Foundation mentor program named John Ryan. I was immediately drawn to him because of his outgoing personality. I don’t know if John has ever met a stranger. Needless to say we became friends, and now call each other “my brother from another mother.” John was running his first half marathon right after we first met which was a challenge for him. Somewhere along the way John began talking about running in the NYC marathon. I told him if he crazy enough to do it I would be there to support him.

Well, he was crazy enough and last weekend I found myself in NYC along with Cecily and Kate (Emily was not able to join us because of work). My promise to John not only was being fulfilled, but Kate had pitched an offer to the Foundation to take pictures of the event, which included bringing Jason Plotkin, an Emmy award winning photo journalist, and his wife Melissa. So instead of just being there to see John, we were included in the Fox Foundation weekend race plans.

This weekend rates number three in my life’s best moments, only after marrying my wife, Cecily, and the birth of our twins. Sorry hole-in-one you weren’t even close. It wasn’t because we were in close proximity to Michael J Fox, his family, and members of the cast from his new television show, but it is because we were part of a large community of people with a common cause — the cure for Parkinson’s disease. Within this group there is an intense bonding process that goes well beyond normal friendships. There is no single hero, but hundreds of friends supporting the runners and thousands more who weren’t there physically, but were in spirit. Sure, the runners were running for themselves, but many of them had the name of the person they were running for in their pocket or on their shirts. What they may not have realized prior to the race was that they were running for all of us in the Parkinson’s community.

Bob and John embrace at mile 23.
Bob and John embrace at mile 23.

At our cheering section, we spent the day cheering for those we knew and those we didn’t know. We laughed, yelled and even shed a tear or two (buckets). There were moments of understanding that we can do more, and there were moments of pride in our friends who were running, but the realization of the power of the relationships we had and were building was overwhelming. This experience that I had was happening on every block of the race. Not for Parkinson’s but for many different reasons. On one side trip (to find a restroom), I even heard a spectator yell “go runners.”

There were two moments in the day that stand out in my mind, as really special. The first was when John Ryan, Tim Ryan, Sue Bilotta, Gwen Schroeder, and AJ Capuzzi (a neighbor of John’s who was not a runner, but offered to join him) reached our cheering section. The police had done a great job of keeping spectators off the street, until then.  Grown men cried and hugged (not me of course- any pictures to the contrary are photo shopped), beautiful sweaty women warriors were embraced and high-fived, husbands were congratulated by their family (eventually). All of it was captured on tape until the camera woman (Kate) was drawn into the celebration. Here’s the video, but as a warning, bring a Kleenex.

The second moment was when Mike Kelly, a new friend of mine, reached us. He had started later and it was getting cold (actually colder) and dark. He was freezing cold and tired, but he was determined. Before he reached the surging crowd, Michael J Fox met him with a hug and joined him to finish the race. As they took off up the street both Mikes broke into a run. Yep, a second bucket of tears. When I saw Mike Kelly after the race, at the post race party, his hands were so cold that I gave him my hand warmers (which were harder than if I had to give up my wife). This moment was not about the fact that Michael J Fox joined him, it was about his determination to finish and that people were there to support him, whether they  were famous or not.

A well-deserved toast by Mike Kelly to the Team Fox marathon runners.
A well-deserved toast by Mike Kelly to the Team Fox marathon runners.

I know this feel good feeling will diminish over time, but not by much. It will lift me up when I am down. It will remind me if I think I can, then I can (think/able). I hope it will do the same for you. I can always go to the website and watch for a couple of minutes and be right back there.

Oh I forgot to mention John and Mike have Parkinson’s.

Last but not least, the big reveal- I will NOT be running in next year’s race- these guys and girls are crazy!

TWO SHOES ON AGAIN

NYC Marathon: What a Team Fox weekend

I don’t have words yet to describe this weekend, nor have I really processed the past few days yet.

Instead, let me give you a few photos from my co-worker Jason Plotkin who did an AMAZING job. He and his wife, Melissa, came out to join us in NYC this weekend.

Matt Mitchell crushed the marathon Sunday. As he came by the Team Fox section at Mile 23 he got high-fives from all of us, even from Michael J Fox and family.
Matt Mitchell crushed the marathon Sunday. As he came by the Team Fox section at Mile 23 he got high-fives from all of us, even from Michael J Fox and family.

Not only did Michael join us to support Team Fox runners, but his wife and daughter, seen here did, too.
Not only did Michael join us to support Team Fox runners, but his wife and daughter, seen here did, too.

 

John and Barb Ryan. John has PD and finished the marathon.
John and Barb Ryan. John has PD and finished the marathon.
This photo is what the marathon means to me. My Mom and Dad came all the way up for John Ryan. For our Team Fox family and the cause.
This photo is what the marathon means to me. My Mom and Dad came all the way up for John Ryan. For our Team Fox family and the cause.

And this. See what happened as John Ryan, Gwen Schroder, Tim Ryan, Sue Bilotta and A.J. Capuzzi came into the Team Fox cheering section at mile 23.