Tonight Geoffrey and I had the pleasure of attending the 10 Mountains, 10 Years documentary which premiered at the Palm Beach International Film Festival in Delray Beach, Florida. It was a vivid reminder as to what drives us beyond our comfort zone when we need to bring change to the world for others.
The first time I wrote for Parker’s Climb, as we officially launched our year long fundraiser, the title was 364 Days To Mt. Kilimanjaro – and that day seemed like it would be an eternity before our walking shoes would take their first steps on that mountain.
Today as I started the day, there was already a different feeling in my head because Parker’s Climb moved from being three digits in time from the mountain to two; yes, today the calendar rolled to 99 Days To Mt. Kilimanjaro, and this brings on new emotions to the forefront of our minds. Tonight seeing 10 Mountains, 10 Years really added yet another facet to our upcoming appointment with a very tall mountain.
I would be less than honest if I did not openly admit that watching The Regulars Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro brought out new emotions from deep within, on so many levels. We felt a certain kinship with the climbers because before we had ever heard of The Regulars, Geoffrey and I, and the rest of the Parker family made this compelling decision to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise awareness and funding for Parkinson’s disease. We share a strange desire to conquer a mountain, and so much more.
Watching this group of climbers as they tell their personal stories and what drove them to climb, and in truth what drives them to be activist, is filled with raw and honest emotion. I could feel their pain, and I could feel their need to open the eyes of the world to help end Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. I can understand why they had to strap on a back pack and put on their hiking boots to conquer this mountain, and the next, and the next, until these diseases are no longer a factor in their lives.
10 Mountains, 10 Years is a remarkable reminder of the real life struggle of millions world-wide who are affected by these diseases and the strength of the human spirit to end this suffering for those who become powerless. The movie magnifies the sadness and the sorrow that is brought on by Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, and it sends a loud message that without a cure for these neurological disorders, they will literally bankrupt our country because of the sheer numbers of people who will be affected as our society ages. It quietly shows the enormous pain that encompasses caregivers, for there is never a day, even in their lives that the disease quietly goes away!
I was touched by the honesty shared by Ken and his wife as he climbed his own mountain by undergoing Deep Brain Stimulation surgery. To know that he was prepared to risk it all, just to stop the movement from early-onset Parkinson’s, was courageous and beyond the limits, and a vivid reminder of the lack of choices available for those living with PD.
It was a pleasure to meet Jennifer Yee, the writer, director, producer and one of the Mt. Kilimanjaro climbers in 10 Mountains, 10 Years. It was astonishing to learn before meeting Enzo Simone and The Regulars, she knew no one with ALZ or PD, so these diseases were not at the forefront of her mind. But that was then and this is now! To hear the the passion in her voice as she recants the experience of making this movie is moving and honest, and she can now be included in the center of the army of change in the battle against Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Meeting Eric, who is one of The Regulars, brought the difficulty of climbing Mt. Kili to reality His uncanny truthfulness about the physical demands of the experience of climbing this mountain is scary – watching he and the other climbers struggle to breath sends shivers down my spine. But, there is an enormous amount of comfort knowing that just one year after the 10 Mountains, 10 Years climb, Eric did it a second time. Yeah – he climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro again just one year later and that gives me a little comfort!
My congratulations to the entire 10 Mountains, 10 Years team – you all have a project that you should be so proud of. Your audience tonight was moved beyond words and it is because the film inspires us all to come to the aid of others, whether it be those with a disease or those who are caregivers.
May 10 Mountains, 10 Years open the hearts and minds of those living beyond our country as the film starts to travel internationally – God speed to you to your next mountain and God speed to the cures! World Up!