My husband Chris' diagnosis of Parkinson's in 2013 at 34 was at first shocking and devastating -- the words "degenerative" and "incurable" brought thoughts of doom and gloom. The reality of Parkinson's is complicated. It seeps stealthily into so many facets of daily life, the shock once again reverberates, and the grieving process begins again. This disease can be relentless. Every day we renew our commitment to each other. It can be very easy to†feel trapped, especially with the needs of young children in the mix.
Yet amidst the storminess this disease creates, something quite beautiful has surfaced. A view of life that would not otherwise be attainable. I am learning that we are more than our thoughts, fears and reactions. We are more than our bodies and the superficial, the face we show the world. To quote one of Chris' favorite songs by the Alternate Routes, "We are love... We are how we treat each other, nothing more." My mantra has become, "If the heart could speak right now what would it say?"
After watching Chris bravely tackle numerous races and marathons and test the limits of his own strength and will, I was inspired to run beside him and others from Team Fox to support their efforts to find a cure.
While Parkinson's came as a shock, it also connected us to a community of people united by this shared journey and an even greater purpose -- to live life to its fullest and not be defined by this disease. I am so grateful to Team Fox for mercilessly pursing a cure for Parkinson's and for reminding us that we are far from alone in our experience.
This March, I am taking on my first challenge -- the New York City Half Marathon. My dear friend and Team Fox supporter Katie Boland will be running with me. Thank you, Katie, for the pep talk that this is something I could actually do. I am running this race out of love for Chris and all those living with Parkinson's. To all the Parkinson's care partners, I got you.
MJFF is inspired by Chris and Annie's commitment, not only to each other, but to help finding a cure as well. Since joining after Chris' diagnosis, the Tracey's have helped raise over $20,000 for Team Fox.
See how you can get involved or find an event in your community at www.teamfox.org.