The month of April 2011 will be remembered as one of our best months as Geoffrey and I traveled to New York to attend the Michael J. Fox, Team Fox Awards Dinner. This started our twelve day, New England trip out on the right foot, as we met up with the Parker Family in Boston and finalized our travel plans for Mt. Kilimanjaro and continued to train and to promote Parker’s Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro Expedition For Parkinson’s Research. I present some of the highlights of the trip!
We were so honored to be invited to the Team Fox dinner on April 8, 2011 – this was an incredible experience to meet other fundraisers who share our belief that the Michael J. Fox Foundation will eventually help find the cure for Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders. Our lives will forever be richer for having this opportunity!
Katie Hood praised individuals for their creativity in fundraising and made us all realize that like the Fox Foundation, those of us who are working to fund the cure are helping to bring creative change for those affected by Parkinson’s disease. You probably wonder where my photo of Michael J. Fox is – well, I did not take one when he was on stage. I guess I was so moved by him, I just could not get out of my seat to snap a photo! His presence filled the room and he made us laugh and he made us all realize, “together, we can find the cure!”
Geoffrey giving his Parker’s Climb / Team Fox Victory Sign – touches my heart in a place reserved only for Geoffrey – the love of my life. This amazing guy has never once said, “why me?”. Instead, he chose to fight Parkinson’s disease on his own terms by staying as physically fit as possible in order to slow the progression. I will forever be humbled by Geoff’s courage and the fact that he has allowed Parker’s Climb to open our lives, and his fight against this silent brain disorder to the world in hopes of helping to fund the cure.
Anyone who knows Geoffrey personally would say that he is reserved, private and one of the kindest individuals in the world. He has inspired others to start an exercise regimen to improve their lives until a cure can be found. He has changed lives for good and I am so blessed to share my life with him! (I love you GP!)
While in New York, we walked to the Natural History Museum one day and attended “The Brain” Exhibit. This illustration shows Deep Brain Stimulation and how the electrodes are placed in the brain and the wires are powered by the pacemaker like instrument that is placed under the skin in the upper chest region. Approximately 80,000 people have undergone DBS surgery to help control the involuntary movements from Parkinson’s disease.
I have seen the Empire State Building hundreds of times, but I must say it looks best in orange. Thanks to the Mayor for honoring the Michael J. Fox Foundation by designating April 8, 2011 as Research Day in NY. What an awesome tribute to Team Fox!
Climbing Mt. Wachusett with George and Larri was a great way to start our trip to Massachusetts. This is the mountain that Geoffrey, George and Gregory Parker grew up on so it is only right that it became a part of the Parker’s Climb training for Mt. Kilimanjaro! Let me just say, “walk in the park” and one beautiful day for members of the Parker’s Climb Team. It could have only have been better to have George IV, Madeleine and brother Gregory with us during the climb!
You all know I am constantly longing for those things that remind me of my childhood – I found it so exciting when the Milk Man showed up at George & Larri’s door that I ran for the camera and just had to snap a photo. The Milk Man probably thought, “who on earth is this nut taking my photo!” Now come on, admit it, you would also love to have fresh milk delivered to your door wouldn’t you?
My first trip to Vermont was lovely – even if it was during the peak of “Mud Season”. We got to see George IV and Christine and it was a real treat to see their beautiful new home that is tucked at the bottom of Mt. Mansfield, in beautiful Stowe Vermont. We got to see snow, wild deer, Mt. Mansfield (which was a huge tease for Geoff because he wanted to go skiing), our friend Donna, The Art Store, and fabulous nature in Vermont.
We were so pleased to finally see Christine’s new retail store, The Art Store, that opened its doors for business in November of last year. The Art Store offers art supplies for adults and children along with every art supply item you could imagine. The store is beautifully adorned with local art from some of the areas fine artist, it offers art classes, gifts and treasures for for all levels of talented artists.
While the Parker family is climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in July, Christine will be holding down the fort in Vermont. How we wish she could join us for the climb but it is impossible for her to get away from the important summer season in Vermont for the store! Christine however will be helping out Parker’s Climb in a very important way, and we are grateful for her contribution!
The Art Store, will be donating a portion of their proceeds from now through the month of July when we start our Mt. Kilimanjaro Climb for Team Fox. It is thoughtful, it is such a great gesture, and like Christine herself, it is just AWESOME!
This beautiful sight literally stopped us in our tracks as we were driving home from Vermont. The record snow levels are now melting and this waterfall sprayed us with its freezing mist as we all ran from the car parked on the side of a mountain road to witness nature in all of its glory!
Later in the week the Parker’s Climb team drove to New Hampshire for a day of training on Mt. Monadnock, New Hampshire’s highest mountain. This mountain was slightly challenging, got the heart pumping and gave all of us insight as to where we need to focus our training in the remaining weeks before taking on Mt. Kilimanjaro, another monadnock half a world away!
Back in New York, The Parker’s Climb Team attended the 17th Annual Unity Walk for Parkinson’s Disease. This photo of the finish line holds a place of significance in my mind. We have so far to go in the fight against Parkinson’s disease – the real finish line has yet to be determined. That finish line will be crossed when we find the cure for Parkinson’s disease, yet I am sure we are going to be there as this one comes into view! This year’s event has raised $1.3 million dollars thus far for Parkinson’s research and 100% of the funds collected will be donated to organizations working towards the cure. Dontations are still being collected through June at: Parkinson’s Unity Walk.
Our New England trip came to an end with a visit to the theatre to see Robin Williams star in Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, and a fabulous dinner at Dafni Taverna in midtown. Thanks to my friend Suzanne for suggesting that we try out Dafni Taverna. It is truly some of the best Greek food that I have had, and it will be on the agenda for future visits to one of my favorite cities in the US, New York City.
Our trip to New England was awesome – we started riding a media wave on our website that is bringing more than 500 readers on many days! Our dream as we launched Parker’s Climb ten months ago was to reach new readers, to inspire those living with Parkinson’s disease, to educate those who know little about this brain disorder, and to champion Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise funds for Team Fox.
Time moves forward – we are now just a little over two months to Mt. Kilimanjaro – spread the word – be generous and donate to our fundraiser and keep us in your thoughts as we continue to prepare to climb to the Roof of Africa!
Much love from the Parker’s Climb Team! A special thank you to those of you who have recently donated to Parker’s Climb.