There is just something powerful about saying 100 Days To Mt. Kilimanjaro! I still remember writing a post titled Parker’s Climb – The First 100 Days, and at that time it felt like we were light years away from stepping foot on Mt. Kilimanjaro. As I always say, “Time stops for no one” and nothing is more true than for those who are living with Parkinson’s disease! And that brings me to why the Parker Family chose to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro to begin with!
Parker’s Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro Expedition For Parkinson’s Research was developed to raise awareness and funding to help find the cure for the brain disorder that plagues more than 1.5 million people in the United States and as many as 7 to 10 million people world wide.
Our fundraiser benefiting The Michael J. Fox Foundation is one of many this year, but it is our way of giving back to Team Fox, the grassroots organization of individuals like ourselves, who are devoting our lives to funding the cure. When the cure for Parkinson’s disease is found, other neurological disorders will also benefit. Some of the same clues that will unlock the mystery of Parkinson’s disease are likely going to help researchers who are studying Alzheimer’s disease, MS, MD, and numerous other brain disorders. This medical breakthrough will single handedly help save our nation from a total melt down of our health care industry as our nations inhabitants grow older.
On this day, 100 Days To Mt. Kilimanjaro for the Parker’s Climb Team, it is only fitting that I go back and show some of the photos of the Parker’s Climb Family as we have trained, worked out, celebrated, and devoted our lives to Parker’s Climb.
I should first say that without you, our readers, Parker’s Climb would only be the history of one family who is devoting a year to help fund the cure for Team Fox. Our readers, those that have given their time to help raise money for Parker’s Climb, and those who have donated to Parker’s Climb are the real heroes! We thank each and everyone who has contributed and who has shared our story and our blog with friends and family members!
When we reach the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro on July 10, 2011, on Geoffrey Parker’s 57th birthday, each and everyone of you will be with us on that journey! Much love and many thanks from the Parker Family and members of the Parker’s Climb Team! pkp
A look at the past 264 Days in the lives of Parker’s Climb
As I look back over the 264 days that have passed, I realize the importance of family, of believing that all things are possible and at the importance of the first “Victory Sign” that Geoffrey made as we left the parking lot to climb Mt. Katahdin! You see, we have all come a long way over the past 264 days – but we have a long way to go!
Larri kept me going with her encouragement and climbing tips while we climbed Mt. Katahdin – there were moments I thought it might be easier to just fling myself off the mountain! Only training for two or three weeks before climbing Mt. Katahdin is not recommended but the one thing I came away with was, “I can do anything if I keep trying!”
The bond created by the Parker Family as we climbed Mt. Katahdin was immeasurable! It is really the first time that the family accepted the brevity of the disease that Geoffrey is facing. This trip was in honor of Evelyn Parker, the mother to the Parker guys who had passed away a year earlier of Alzheimer’s disease.
We came together as a family to scatter Evelyn’s ashes in Maine as she wished. It was a week filled with a lot of emotion and a lot of reflection by the Parker’s boys! It was a week that the love in my heart overflowed because I came to realize that for the first time in my life, “I finally have the big family that I have always dreamed of – I am proud to be a Parker!”
Life took on a new meaning for me after Mt. Katahdin – I knew if I were to survive, I had to get into that gym and I had to train like never before. I took the challenge with the same seriousness that Geoff has done his whole life but the early days were not easy. The first few times that I did core training with trainer John, I had to come home and rest for thirty minutes before getting ready for work! A work in progress – I was simply a work in progress and I have never had so many aches and pains in my life!
I had a special treat in September by my friend’s visit from Indiana. Kelley and I grew up in Indiana together and share some pretty awesome memories! Kelley and I spent the week in Sebastian and Debbie, also from our home town came to spend the night with us from her house in Delray Beach. Good friends are fuel for the soul and my time spent with the girls was a treat!
The Parker Family made plans to climb our second mountain in October with a trip to the Berkshires planned. Mt. Greylock, while much smaller and much easier to climb than Mt. Katahdin, gave us a chance to welcome new members to Parker’s Climb. We had students from Williams College join us for the climb and made dear friends with David – another victim of Parkinson’s disease who found us through our blog. David was so motivated by Team Parker that he decided to join us!
What David did not realize is that we were all totally inspired by him for making this climb. Having undergone Deep Brain Stimulation surgery just three months before making this climb was David’s way of taking back his life after his successful surgery. Before the surgery, he told us he would not have been able to even consider this climb! David – you are our hero – and we treasure your bravery and celebrate you for the victory you have claimed!
We were also excited to be joined by our niece Ella on the Mt. Greylock summit! Having her join Parker’s Climb was an awesome gesture and it only opened our eyes to the fact that the next generation of the Parker Family will go on to do great things. They come from a long line of survivors led by George and Evelyn and they will make us all proud as we watch the chapters of their lives unfold.
We moved into the Christmas holidays with excitement and Parker’s Climb blog showcased Pompano Beach – A Christmas Village. It was a tribute to the town that we have known and lived in since 1996, and it is where we call home – at least for now. The holidays did not slow down our enthusiasm for training and as each week passed, Geoffrey and I became stronger. George meanwhile has been doing eight miles a day on the treadmill so there is no doubt he will be ready for Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Just after Christmas, Geoffrey and I received a gift as I was returning home from the gym one morning. I found a small Yorkie puppy who had been abandoned. The little guy was freezing, his weight had dropped by one-forth his body weight and he was in desperate need of major dental work because of a terrible infection in his teeth. Lil Kili joined the family and he will forever be a light in my life. He adores me and I adore him and the best news is that he and Gracie get along just fine. Kili was named in honor of Mt. Kilimanjaro and he has become the second official mascot for Parker’s Climb. The first holder of that honor is Travis, Maddy’s dog who helped herd us up Mt. Greylock!
So the first 264 days of Parker’s Climb has been filled with events that we will treasure for a life time. The photos in our hearts of those who have written to us because they are inspired by Geoff’s tenacity for life shine bright. These letters will provide the fuel needed to climb to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
100 Days To Mt. Kilimanjaro promises to fill us with more memories, more family time and more fundraising. We have come a long way, but we have so far to go! We have a mountain to climb – we have a disease to cure! pkp