Today’s Worthy Wednesday Guest Post is by my awesome friend Lindsay. We have known each other a long time now but recently Lindsay became a very close friend and I’m so happy to have her in my inner circle….
It’s difficult to sit by when someone you love is sick. You feel helpless. When my stepfather was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease almost ten years ago, I wanted to do something to help. Anything.
Parkinson’s disease is a chronic, degenerative neurological disorder that usually targets adults aged 60 and older. The disease causes slowness of movement, rigidity, tremors, and other non-motor symptoms like cognitive impairment and mood disorders. Neither a specific cause nor a cure is known at this time.
At the time of my stepfather’s diagnosis, all I knew about Parkinson’s was that actor Michael J. Fox had it. An Internet search led me to his organization, the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. Here I discovered that much was already being done to battle Parkinson’s, and there were plenty of ways for me to get involved.
The Foundation’s singular goal is to speed breakthroughs that will help Parkinson’s patients NOW. It accomplishes this through:
-Advancing promising drug development
-Sharing its clinical results with others in the research community, so that progress is made, no matter what source it comes from
-Bringing the Parkinson’s community together via the website, trials, and fundraisers
-Repurposing drugs for other diseases that could help Parkinson’s patients
What YOU can do to help:
- Donate to the Michael J. Fox Foundation. $0.88 of every dollar donated goes towards grants and initiatives trying to find a cure for Parkinson’s. Since its inception in 2000, $325 million has been raised by the foundation for this purpose.
- Participate in clinical trials. Trials need volunteers who have Parkinson’s AND those who don’t. The Fox Trial Finder website allows anyone to search for a trial that is a good fit. Some trials are as easy as filling out a form. For example, there is currently a study evaluating the sense of smell and its relationship to Parkinson’s, which merely requires participants (anyone over the age of 60 who does not have Parkinson’s) to take a survey. I directed my mom to this particular survey, she answered some questions online that qualified her, and then she received a packet in the mail to fill out. It’s such an easy thing to do and it makes a difference in the hunt for a cure!
- Complete your next running, walking, bike, or triathlon race as a fundraiser for Team Fox. Some events, like the New York City Marathon, will offer you guaranteed entry to a race if you commit to raising a certain amount of money for a charity. By pledging to raise $5,000 for the Michael J. Fox Foundation, I was granted a spot in the NYC Marathon in 2008. It was a wonderful way to spread the word about Parkinson’s research and involve my family and friends in the fundraising process. At the marathon, I had the pleasure of meeting the amazing Michael J. Fox. He came around at the charity’s pre-race dinner to personally thank each Team Fox fundraiser for supporting this cause.
- Get the Charity Miles app for your smartphone that donates money to your selected charity each time you run, walk, or bike. Before you head out the door, open the app, choose the Michael J. Fox Foundation, and get moving! Runners and walkers earn $0.25 per mile and bikers earn $0.10 per mile completed.
But perhaps the most important thing you can do is offer support to those you know who have this disease. I showed my stepfather how to peruse the clinical trials that may be options for him. I also send him any news articles regarding the latest advancements in treatments for Parkinson’s.
Being diagnosed with Parkinson’s is not a death sentence. There are several promising treatments available and more on the horizon. And every day, researchers continue to search for that one breakthrough that will get to the bottom of this disease and solve its riddle. That is what the Parkinson’s community is counting on, and what they will someday bear witness to.
To learn more about Parkinson’s disease or the Michael J. Fox Foundation, click here.
I’m a wife, mom of two, writer, wine drinker, and a runner. I am originally from North Jersey but moved to South Jersey for my wonderfully patient, handsome husband. I love a good book and trashy reality TV shows, especially those on Bravo! I blog about life and parenting at The Naughty Mommy.