As many of you know, Geoffrey and I, and the rest of the Parker family will be leaving this week for Tanzania, East Africa to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro! It is hard to believe a full year has passed since launching Parker’s Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro Expedition – Benefitting The Michael J. Fox Foundation.
Over the past year, we have met many people who have had a significant impact on our family, and our journey. I have met brave individuals living with Parkinson’s disease that have fueled my soul, many along with their families, are working endlessly to improve the lives of those living with neurological disorders.
In December of 2010, I wrote about one such woman who has had such a positive impact on me. Kay Mixon Jenkins, the author of the children’s book Who Is Pee Dee, and founder of Parkinson’s In The Park and PD Voices. Kay and I bonded within seconds during our first conversation, and I have loved her every since. She is one of the most courageous individuals that I have ever known. Only a woman with Kay’s knowledge and understanding could have crafted a story like Who Is Pee Dee to explain a disease like Parkinson’s disease to children. It is insightful, it is written with compassion, and it is straight from the heart. 258 Days To Mt. Kilimanjaro – Who Is Pee Dee?
Over the weekend Geoffrey and I received an email from Kay and she had created a video in honor of Parker’s Climb. Kay used photos from the past year from Facebook and from the Parker’s Climb blog. It is truly one of the most thoughtful gifts I have ever received, and it really tells the story of our last year so well.
Kay – you picked out some of the most important moments of our year – you have highlighted so many people that have touched our lives as our Parker’s Climb journey was beginning. The photos are my family and some of my best friends. They are people who have supported us and Parker’s Climb, and some who have helped Geoffrey and I prepare mentally for Mt. Kilimanjaro.
When I heard Miley Cyrus singing The Climb and watched the video, it brought tears to my eyes. It took me right back to the summit of Mt. Katahdin, when I climbed my first mountain last August. It took me back to the moment that I looked up and saw boulders that were bigger than life, and I had no idea how I could climb them. I can close my eyes and remember Geoffrey standing above me (way above me) with his hand out, so he could pull me up! And he did – not just once, but many times during that climb.
This story is no different that that of the Parkinson’s community that we are all a part of. It is about the people who reach out their hands to get us over the next boulder. It is about so many incredible people that I have met this year who help fill my lungs with air, on those days that the thought of Parkinson’s disease takes my breath away. It is the reminder that none of us are not going to stop – until we get our cure!
It is about Geoffrey Parker – the incredible guy who inspires me on a daily basis with his tenacity to selfishly help others who are fighting this disease. It is about the Michael J. Fox Foundation and the many other organizations that we now know, who are working to find a cure.
There’s always gonna be another mountain – but one day we will have our cure – Keep the Faith!
Pam & Geoffrey – George III & Larri – George IV & Madeleine
Tonight Geoffrey and I wish Gregory K Parker a very Happy Birthday! We are so happy to have shared this birthday with you here in Florida! Greg is playing an incredible role in Parker’s Climb – one that no one else could have filled! We love you brother!