On Saturday, February 1st, Mt. Errigalófondly referred to as Irelandís Most Iconic Mountainówas alive with Team Fox spirit as 135 fighting Irish joined Team Fox member Kieran Whorisky to summit the famous peak in support of Parkinsonís Research. For Whorisky, who was diagnosed with Young Onset PD at the age of 26, the climb was his first Team Fox event, and he remains in awe of the support and love that his friends, family and community provided. Earlier this week, we caught up with Kieran to hear more about the dayís adventure and couldnít help but be charmed by his enthusiasm and gracious nature in the process.
Well, Iíll tell ye a wee bit about myself. The nameís Kieran Whorisky and Iím 38 years young. I was diagnosed with Parkinsonís at 26 after living with symptoms for 3 years prior, so Iíve had PD for longer than some at an early age. At the start, it was hardóIím not going to lie!óand I spent a good portion of my early 20s feeling like I had to deal with, hide or be embarrassed by my condition. There was a lot of feeling alone because I knew no one else with PD and no one knew or understood what my body was doing. So I just got on with it and dealt as best I could. It doesnít hurt that Iím a pretty humorous fella so not much gets me down!† † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † †
As time went by, I knew Michael J. Fox had Parkinsonís and I would watch his interviews on YouTube to see how he talked about and dealt with his PD. It was Michaelís optimism that gave me inspiration, hope and the kick up the arse to stand up and say, ĎYES! I too have Parkinsonísí. So after 8 years of hiding my PD from the public, I wrote a long story on Facebook and was overwhelmed with the support I received. It was truly as if a great big weight was lifted from me shoulders- I felt free!
So I decided to give a wee bit back by doing a fundraiser to create awareness as I believe that The Michael J. Fox Foundation is the way to a cure. Now, Mount Errigal isnít for the faint of hearted; itís a 1.5hr climb to the summit with 30 minutes of swampy marshland to wade through before even reaching the mountain base. And being that the event was scheduled for February 1st, the weather forecast wasnít too kindÖ but being the fighting Irish that we are, we werenít deterred!
135 people showed up in the mountains of Donegal in blizzard conditions that morning to climb this beast with me and support the cause. There were people on the ground supplying tea sandwiches and shelter for everyone who did the climb, and we even had the first Irishman to climb Everest along to ensure everyone was safe and accounted for. It was fantastic.†
While there were many reasons I did this climb, I hoped to give other people a chance to see on a different scale what living with Parkinsonís is like. Each of us that live with this condition know that mountain that we climb each and every day, hoping that someday we WILL reach that summit. It was fantastic having so many people coming out to support something that means so much to me!
Congratulations to Kieran and his fellow climbers- what an incredible way to raise awareness and support! Take a look at some of the fantastic photos from the dayís events and the successful summit!