My mother’s words on the “Messages of Hope” say it all, “You have always been an inspiration for all of us. You’re still doing it. Love always and forever…” Not only is my father the most amazing father a child could have but also was and is the most inspiring person in my and my four brothers lives.
My father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease when I was in 7th grade. As the disease progressed with my father, I knew I wanted to help find a cure. I first learned about the Unity Walk one week before it was held in 2008 when Michael J. Fox appeared on a commercial spreading awareness about the walk. I got right to work. I reached out to family and friends and was able to raise more than $1,000 that week. Along with two of my closest friends the Ned Heads team was created. As we walked with thousands of other people who were affected by Parkinson’s disease this event became even closer to my heart.
By 2009, the Ned Head’s team and fundraising grew! Even though Parkinson’s had taken over much of my father’s body and mind, he attended the Unity Walk with the Ned Heads. After attending the Unity Walk for the second time, I knew I wanted to do more.
Dementia had taken over my father’s mind. I found this part of the disease the most difficult. My family worked together to keep my father at home surrounded by familiarity, love and family. My entire family helped my father through the years. My mother and brothers, Jed and Danny, who still lived at home helped to give my father the best life he could ask for. My brother’s, who were still so young, were amazing with my father. It broke my heart to see my young brothers feed, dress, and comfort our father on a daily basis. I decided that helping find a cure for Parkinson’s disease is something I will be a part of for the rest of my life.
After talking with a friend whose father is suffering from Multiple Myeloma, we decided we needed to think of a way to get all our friends involved in raising money for our father’s diseases. We decided to have a bar crawl, “Crawling for a Cure”!
Unfortunately, my father never got to hear about the success of our bar crawl when he suddenly passed away on December 23, 2009 from complications of Parkinson’s disease. Every year since, I have hosted a fundraising event in memory of my father.
My hope is that our future children, wives, husbands, sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers and friends will not be affected by the disease that took my father’s life.
“You have always been inspiration for all of us. You’re still doing it. Love always and forever…”
Forever Loved, Always Missed
I love you, Dad…