Geoffrey and I are in New York for the Team Fox Fifth Annual MVP Awards Dinner tonight. It is a great opportunity to meet other people from around the country whose goal is the same as ours – to raise funds for research to end Parkinson’s disease.
We walked from the Upper West Side of the city to Times Square today and the most amazing thing happened while we were out! More than 425 people logged into our blog and learned about Parker’s Climb and our Mt. Kilimanjaro Expedition For Parkinson’s Research! Parker’s Climb has come to life in New York City this week. We have handed out a lot of cards and we have met some great people!
New York – you have just given us the greatest number of visitors to the Parker’s Climb website on any single day since our launch in July 2010! We are inspired – and from the entire Parker family, we climb Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise awareness and funding for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for the cure! Thanks for giving us such a great day in your city!
Pam & Geoff
About Parker’s Climb:
Parker’s Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro Expedition for Parkinson’s Research was launched on July 4, 2010, by Pamela and Geoffrey Parker, and on July 4, 2011, six members of the Parker family will climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Tanzania, East Africa.
Our year long fundraiser was launched to raise awareness for Parkinson’s disease and funding for the Michael J. Fox Foundation. One hundred percent of the donations made through Parker’s Climb goes directly to Team Fox.
The Parker team will reach the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro at 19,340 feet on July 10th, 2011. This happens to be a special day because it is Geoffrey Parker’s 57th birthday! The other pretty amazing thing about our Mt. Kilimanjaro summit is that Geoffrey will be 51/2 years into his formal diagnosis and perhaps as long as 8 years with Parkinson’s disease, and he will have just defied some pretty great odds.
Most people train for three to six months to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, but we decided to dedicate the year to training and raising funds for Team Fox. It has been a busy and exciting year to say the least. We have opened our lives to the world by writing a blog everyday to update readers on our training and all that is occurring in the medical community towards finding the cure for PD. We have reached more than 10,000 readers and now have people following us from 8 countries. A few months ago we added a language translator that automatically translates the blog to more than 50 languages – how awesome is that!
For a couple living at sea level in Florida, training to climb to the roof of Africa is not as easy as one might think. Since we have no mountains we have to compensate by really building the legs in the gym! If I had a dollar for every lunge and leg press I have done in the last eight months it would likely pay my airfare to Tanzania!
Last August the Parker family decided to do a formal kick off climb for Parker’s Climb. Since Kilimanjaro was my idea, Geoff had the pleasure of choosing the mountain for our first family event. He chose Mt. Katahdin, Maine and we set our sights on the 5,268 ft. summit. Now keep in mind, every other member of the Parker family has climbed mountains except me! We chose the Hunt Trail and it’s 3.8 mile ascent.
There was a touch of comfort when i realized the rest of my family was as blown away as I was when they saw Mt. Katahdin and the almost mile high stack of boulders that we had to climb! Nothing could have prepared me for that day and since I had only been training for about 3 weeks before the climb. I can openly admit it took every ounce of my being to make it up that mountain. Actually, it was the coming down part that almost did me in! But in the end (which was after six hours up and five hours down) we did it! We rocked!
Climbing Mt. Katahdin was a defining moment in my life – It gave me the confidence that we can do anything. The part that really rocked was the fact that when I was at my greatest point of exhaustion, Geoff took my back pack from me – he carried my pack and his pack! If that was not a reason to buck up and just do it, nothing was!
Geoff has always been an amazing athelete and we are convinced that his diligence to stay physically fit is slowing the progression of the Parkinson’s disease. He spends three to four days a week in the gym, he plays golf a couple of days a week, and still shoots in the 70′s and 80′a and he can ride a bicycle near 20 miles without breaking a sweat! Just sharing the success he has had because of his tenacious spirit has inspired others with PD to start an exercise regimen – and because of that, we have achieved a goal!
In October, the Parker family climbed Mt. Greylock, the highest mountain in Massachusetts in the beautiful Berkshires. Mt. Greylock’s stands at 3,489 ft and it was a piece of cake in comparison to Mt. Katahdin. It was special none the less because Massachusetts is where the Parker family hails from.
In April the Parker family hopes to climb Mt. Mansfield, the highest mountain in Vermont with an elevation of 4.393 ft. This mountain is said to have the appearance of an elongated human profile, with distinct features like a forehead, nose, lips, a chin and an adams apple. The highest point happens to be the chin. Again, all of the Parker’s have climbed Mt. Mansfield except me, but I think I will do ok. I understand that there may still be snow at the summit – and we may not be able to make it to the top, but a little cold weather training will be good for the Florida Parker’s.
Our Mt. Kilimanjaro trek is just 86 days from now and we still have a lot of work to do. We need to start putting in some miles with a weighted back pack and there is an enormous amount of work to do with the fundraiser.
We have a mountain to climb – but we also have a lot of research to fund! The Fox Foundation is doing amazing work towards improving the lives of those living with Parkinson’s disease. They are funding some of the most aggressive research occurring today, and have helped shorten the amount of time it takes to get research from the lab to human trials.
Joining Geoffrey and me for our Mt. Kilimanjaro climb is, George Knight Parker III, Larri Tonelli Parker and Madeleine Parker, all from Massachusetts, and George Knight Parker IV from Vermont. Geoffrey and I could not have a more dedicated team in our quest to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro and to help fund the cure for PD!
Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro will be a life changing experience for all of us, but the most important life changing event will come from our readers and those who help us raise funds for the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Finding the cure for Parkinson’s disease will affect the lives of more than 5 million people world wide who have been diagnosed with PD.
I hope you will share our story with friends and family and visit our website at www.parkersclimb.com. We have some pretty awesome retail partners and we donate 100% of the proceeds to Team Fox!