God is already at work!

Around 3:00 pm on December 1st I went public with this idea to raise awareness of & money for Parkinson’s Disease.  Less than 24 hours after going public with this whole idea/journey/plan/cause, God planted me right in the path of someone who would validate this journey!  Wow — I was blown away, honestly.  So what happened?  Here we go.

I volunteered to help with the Reindeer Dash for Cash road race on Sunday, December 2nd at 1pm.  The whole week leading up to the event, I keep asking myself WHY I volunteered, as things were quickly becoming hectic & busy.  I should’ve known this as a Mom of 4 with kids in different activities.  I originally volunteered because I was sticking to my “TAKE DECEMBER OFF” rule I had made myself in regards to running, but I still wanted to support the cause.  Volunteering was the best way.  I signed up to work the Finish Line, you know putting the medals around the 10 milers necks & handing the dog tag souvenirs to the 5k finishers.  The COOL part, to me anyway.  When I got to the volunteer tent it was apparent they had plenty of Finish Line people but were short on Backup Time Keepers & Course Monitors.  A young lady, Maddie, had signed up to be a Backup Time Keeper with a friend but that friend was unable to be there.   I was standing next to her & the guy in charge looked at me & I immediately said I’d do whatever he needed me to do, so Backup Time Keeper it was.  I will admit, I was a little bummed I wasn’t going to place those medals around the runners’ necks but I had no idea what God had in store!

Maddie & I walk over to the finish line area as instructed.  Two other girls walk over with us…hmmm, odd as only 2 Backup Time Keepers are typically needed.  The guy in charge of “time management” (i.e. the guy from Precision Race) seemed stumped as well, but put the other 2 girls to work as the Backup Time Keepers.  He then spent time figuring out what to do with Maddie & me.  This gave the two of us lots of time to talk, small talk at first.  She’s much younger than I, a sophomore at ECU studying to become a physical therapist one day.  As our conversation developed, I told her I usually run in this race but that I was taking time off in December to prepare for 12 months ~ 120 miles ~ $12,000 for Parkinson’s.  Her eyes lit up & she says “My Dad has Parkinson’s!”  Wow, really?  God directly at work here, let me tell you.  What are the odds?  I got chills, people!

As I told her more about the plan, she got excited & volunteered to run in a race with me & to help raise money.  We then spent what seemed like an hour discussing her Dad & my Mom & how our families handle living with PD.  Her Dad & my Mom are different PD patients: her Dad, Jack, has young on-set PD and is no longer able to work (his former job had him on the road & driving is something he is no longer able to do).  It was comforting to hear another daughter talk about PD, even though our walks with PD are different as well: she was very young, school-aged, when her Dad was diagnosed while I was busy in my career about to have my 2nd child when my Mom was diagnosed.  Still though, there was some comfort to meet someone else who was like me: a daughter of a parent with PD, struggling to figure out how to help.

So when the race was over & our duties fulfilled (we ended up working the Results Tent, which was cool), we parted ways having already “friended” each other on facebook & planing to stay in touch about this journey.  Maddie messaged me via facebook later that night – she had already checked out this blog & the facebook page & found a race she wanted to join me in!  Later, her sister decided she wants to join in as well.  So Maddie & I may end up working together often on this journey, as she seems as passionate about this cause as I am.  I’m more than willing to have her assistance as much as she’s comfortable with.  We’re already throwing around some big ideas for fundraising & raising awareness in the area!  🙂  To top it off, her Dad is working on a logo!  He was in advertising/marketing & so designing a logo is right up his alley.  Now, how awesome is that — having the logo designed by someone with PD?  Can’t wait to see it!

I feel so silly now, when I think back at how stinking nervous I was on November 30th about going public with this idea.  I had prayed over “120 miles”, but I never asked God for a sign that this was exactly what I should do.  I was convicted it needed to be done without His giant sign of approval.  He certainly gave me one though & pretty quickly too!  How amazing is He?!

This cause also received it’s very first donation over the weekend.  BIG thanks to those who have donated!  If you’d like to make a donation, visit the Team Fox fundraising page here.

I’m very excited about 2013 & it hasn’t even started yet!

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The beginning

So, here I am on the eve of unveiling my big plan to the world. I’m anxious & very nervous. I don’t want this to be about me. It’s about Parkinson’s awareness & raising money to fund Parkinson’s research. This is just the best way I could come up with to actually do something constructive for my Mom.

So what am I doing? My Mom, Debby Gray, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) during the fall of 2005. This was a disease I knew very, very little about . After researching PD I realized that while there are treatments & drugs to help with her PD symptoms, there is NO CURE. I’ve watched her PD slowly progress & her symptoms become somewhat worse, especially during the summer of 2011 when she selflessly became a participant in a PD drug study. After the study concluded, we learned she was in the placebo group. My Mom volunteered to hopefully help others who are diagnosed with PD & that is always her intention when it comes to “treating” her PD. I have struggled for years with how to help my Mom. Recently, it came to me!

I began running in May of 2011 to shed some post-baby #4 weight. It worked & I was quickly hooked. I love running! I ran my 1st 5k in October 2011 & 1st 10k in March 2012, all local events. I set my goals on greater things: completed Disney’s Tower of Terror 10 miler in September 2012 & my 1st half marathon at Rock & Roll Savannah in November 2012.

I am now ready for more & setting my sights on my 1st ever marathon! Shortly after completing my 1st half & deciding I want to run a full marathon, the idea hit: I can use that race to help raise money for PD research! But not just by running 1 race, I want to run at least one per month during 2013, including my 1st ever marathon in the fall — all for PD research. How could I do this though, handle the fundraising side? Ah, ha! I found Team Fox (a part of the Michael J. Fox Foundation) online & realized I could make it a reality: I could run my heart out AND help my Mom & those with PD! 🙂

My goal is to run 120 race miles by completing a handful of local races, 4-5 half marathons & my 1st ever marathon; all during 2013. I am currently in the process of scheduling each race & will keep this site updated with the events I am running.  I WOULD LOVE FOR FRIENDS TO RUN WITH ME!  Running is much more fun with a friend (and warning, I may wear a tutu).

Please support me with your prayers. I must stay healthy to accomplish my goals. Many of you know I currently have issues with my iliotibial bands, which cause pain in my kness (left mainly) about 3 miles into each run. I am taking December 2012 off from running to rehab my ITBs. I appreciate your prayers tremendously. If you are lead to donate to Parkinson’s research & my goal, please visit my Team Fox fundraising page here: my Team Fox website .

TENTATIVE LIST OF RACES: (bold denotes races I am registered for)

1/1/13: Resolution Run 5K (Rocky Mount, NC)  Information HERE

2/9/13: Cupids Crawl 5K (Greenville, NC)  Information HERE

3/17/13: Tobacco Road Half Marathon (Cary, NC)  Information HERE

4/6/13: Eastern Run/Walk for Autism 5K (Greenville, NC)  Information HERE

4/20/13: Pirate Alumni 5K (downtown Greenville, NC)  Information HERE

4/28/13:  Divas Half Marathon (North Myrtle Beach, SC)  Information HERE

5/18/13:  Bright Night for Ovarian Cancer 5K (Greenville, NC)  Information HERE

6/1/13:  Lookout Capital Half Marathon (Raleigh, NC)  Information HERE

6/22/13:  Flat Out 5K (Greenville, NC)  Information HERE

9/6-7/13: Blue Ridge Relay with the Greenville Running Group (VA & NC mountains, aprox 17 miles)  Information HERE

10/5/13: Good Samaritan 5K (Greenville, NC)  Information coming

10/27/13:  Marine Corps Marathon (Washington, DC)  Information HERE

11/28/13:  Beau’s Buddies Turkey Trot for Tots 5K (Greenville, NC)  Information coming

12/7/13: Reindeer Dash for Cash 10 Miler (Greenville, NC)  Information HERE

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

Understand what PD is by visiting the following links:

I am raising funds for PD research directly through & for the Michael J. Fox Foundation.  The following information is directly from their fundraising portal, TEAM FOX :

Five million people worldwide are living with Parkinson’s disease, a chronic, degenerative neurological disorder. In the United States, 60,000 new cases will be diagnosed this year alone. There is no known cure for Parkinson’s disease. But through your support of Team Fox, you can help change this.

Team Fox is The Michael J. Fox Foundation’s (MJFF) grassroots community fundraising program. Its members include thousands of people worldwide who generate funds and awareness for Parkinson’s disease research. All funds raised through Team Fox go directly to MJFF to advance its mission to accelerate the delivery of life-changing treatments, and ultimately a cure, to people with Parkinson’s disease.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation is honored by your support. Since 2001, the Foundation has maintained an uncompromising pace ? strategically targeting our resources to achieve maximum impact on patients’ lives, funding work on over 100 therapeutic targets to the tune of more than $304 million to date. MJFF also understands that patients are the key to a cure and is actively engaged with the PD community. To help connect patients and their loved ones with the clinical trials that urgently need their participation, the Foundation created a Web tool, Fox Trial Finder. Whether you have PD or not, you can play a critical role in moving research forward ? create your profile now!

Now through December 31, 2012, all Team Fox members new to the program or those who raised more than last year will have their funds matched dollar-for-dollar, thanks to the $50-million Brin Wojcicki Challenge.

Your timing to step up for Team Fox couldn’t be better. Be a part of the answer and help us speed a cure for Parkinson’s today!

Posted in PD