The Tour de Fox Series is comprised of five cycling events that bring together the Parkinsonís community with a goal of raising over $1.5 million for Parkinson's research. Our first event this year is the Tri-State ride in Madison, New Jersey this June, with others scheduled around the country and in British Columbia. Read why one MJFF staffer is taking part in the Tour and learn more about how you can pedal for a cure.† ††
Parkinsonís disease came into my life 13 years ago when my mom was diagnosed at 57. She was having a slight tremor in her hand and was frustrated that she was having difficulty combing her hair. Our family assumed she had a pinched nerve or something minor. We were floored when she received her diagnosis. She already had beat breast cancer years earlier, and I have to admit it was hard at times not to think how unfair it was. I think my whole family felt that way at some point -- except my mom.
She didnít feel sorry for herself. She didnít complain. She was wasnít angry, mean or bitter. She just kept living life with enthusiasm. Drawing on her strength and positivity, my family focused on supporting PD research. In 2011, my sister Kerry climbed Mount Kilimanjaro for Team Fox, raising over $23,000. I began working at the Foundation in 2015, thrilled to join such a passionate group of people committed to finding a cure.† †
We lost her in December 2016. I often think about her infectious laugh. It was the kind youíd like to bottle up and open on a bad day.† When I asked my four-year-old daughter what she will miss most about Nana, she said ďHer laugh. That was my favorite.Ē One of the countless pieces of advice my mother gave us was to smile, and people will smile back. I take comfort knowing that she lives on in the smiles of my daughters.†
She was so much more than a person with Parkinsonís disease -- she was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, special education teacher and loyal friend. My family is participating in the Tour de Fox Tri-State ride in June. We canít wait to be surrounded by the inspiring Michael J. Fox community. Last year, we participated in the Tour de Fox Wine Country ride, which was the weekend of what would have been my parentsí 47th wedding anniversary. It seemed like a fitting way to honor her.
She set an example of how to live life, how to take the bad with the good. We will continue to try to follow that example she spent a lifetime setting -- to be strong, to stay positive, to smile and to keep living life.†
Inspired? Register to participate in the Tour de Fox†with rides ranging from 10 to 75 miles.