Sunday morning. October 14th. Lincoln Park. Just south of the zoo. Just west of the lake. Time to take a walk!
This week is the annual Moving Day walk sponsored by the Parkinson's Foundation. It's the yearly event that helps raises money to make the lives of people with Parkinson's Disease better. It's one of my favorite days of the year.
This will be my sixth Moving Day walk. That corresponds to how many years since I was diagnosed with Parkinson's.
I remember my first one in 2013. I was less than a year into the disease. I was still trying to get my mind around the diagnosis. I knew I wasn't dying...at least not immediately...but I didn't know how Parkinson's was going to affect my life...or if it would affect my life. When I walked onto the grounds in Lincoln Park, I tried to take in everything. I found people with all stages of the disease. Some were like me. They were new to the Parkinson's world. You'd never know that they had a chronic illness. Others were in more advanced stages and you could see how Parkinson's had taken a toll on their lives and the lives of those who loved them.
It was an eye opening day. I left with a lot of information but somewhat confused. You see, with Parkinson's, no case is alike. You see someone and wonder, will I end up like him...or him...or her. Honestly, no one really knows. Scary!
However, there was one important thing I found that day. Support!
You'd walk the course and start to talk to people. It seemed everyone was open to sharing their story....and open to listening to yours. Strangers bonding over something horrific that was happening to them or a loved one. It made you feel better. It made you feel secure. It gives you hope. It lets you know that you aren't alone.
As the years go on, you become more comfortable with this group. You're no longer a rookie. You've become a veteran...a somewhat grizzled veteran. You get to share your story with the newbies. Pass on your knowledge. Show them the ropes. Show them that there is hope. Pay it forward.
And that's the real reason we'll walk this Sunday. Yes, the money is great and necessary, but for me it's all about the relationships and bonding.
Hundreds of us will gather at the lakefront this Sunday. Rain or Shine. Hot or cold. We've seen all these conditions over the last six years and it's never stopped us from walking.
We'll walk on.
With hope in our heart.
We'll never walk alone.
Related Post: Moving Day 2017-Overcoming all the obstacles
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