Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Don't Sit Still.

April is Parkinson's Awareness Month.  And part of that is 'What will I (or anyone) do to help get awareness out there?"  What better way to get awareness out there then to blog about it . . . 

~  I am a member of the Fox Trial Finder which was developed by The Michael J. Fox Foundation (http://www.michaeljfox.org) to help people find opportunities to participate in clinical trials.
~  I will be participating in upcoming Parkinson's Walks throughout the year.
~  And I recently added two tattoos to my current collection.  In December I had the MJF Foundation 'Fox' logo tattooed on my wrist; and the phrase, "I'm in.  Are you?" tattooed on the top of my foot.  The phrase can be found on T-shirts that are available for purchase; and it's used in video campaigns.

I decided to get more involved because my Father was diagnosed about five years ago with Parkinson's disease.  Parkinson's disease is a progressive disorder of the brain that leads to shaking (tremors), difficulty in walking, movement and coordination.  As of now, there is no cure for the disease.  And anyone who has a family member or themselves that have been diagnosed knows that it is both hard on that person and their family. 

I'd like to share a cute story involving my dog, Ellie and my Father. 
Whenever my husband and I go on a trip, my parents will watch Ellie.  She loves going to 'Pappy and Grandma's house.'  And, of course, she gets spoiled while she's there; my Father gives her ice cream (frozen yogurt) every night, and my Mom takes her for several walks throughout the day.

Back in November Ellie had gone to stay with my parents while my husband and I were traveling.  And on one of those days my Father had one of his 'bad days'.  His bad days can vary with different levels of symptom severity.  On this particular day my Father was feeling sick to his stomach, he had the shakes and he had a nervous, agitated feeling ... he just couldn't 'get comfortable in his own skin'.  So he was sitting up on the edge of his recliner with his hands on his face, elbows resting on his legs.  

Now, when my Father is nervous, Ellie is nervous.  So Ellie had been pacing the floor in the living room and dining room; keeping an eye on my Father.  Then Ellie walked over to him and sat down in front of him as if he had a toy or a treat for her.  My Father knew she was there, and without moving or looking, said, "Hey, Dog!" which is how he normally addresses her.  She wagged her tail and then walked away only to walk back over to him and sit down in front of him again.   Before my Mother or my Father knew it, Ellie took her head and laid it down on my Father's knees and looked up at him with her puppy-dog eyes.  I truly think she was trying to comfort my Father right then and there.  It's moments like this that warm my heart.  And for that short moment in time my Father had some comfort from that stupid disease that has taken over his body and his entire life!

My dream is that one day there will be a cure for Parkinson's disease.  And as for right now, I will do everything that I can to help in finding that cure and getting awareness out there about this disease.  "I'm in.  Are you?"

The Title of my blog, "Don't Sit Still", is taken from one of the T-shirts that can be purchased on the MJF Foundation website, http://shop.michaeljfox.org/.  I love this phrase because it is a very powerful saying when you relate it to Parkinson's; both as a patient and someone who is active in finding a cure.)

(Side-note:  I believe that animals are truly the most sensitive beings on Earth.  You can most likely find me signing petitions for animal rights and posting articles and/or photos of animals on several of my profile pages.  I am involved with the Jane Goodall Institute, the Centre For Orangutan Protection and Red Apes
out of Borneo, just to name a few.  I help spread the word about how important it is to help save these orphans and our environment.  I also make donations periodically, and purchase orangutan and chimp-related items, to help out these causes . . . . . .  I am a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves!)

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