Missy Spangler is a Team Fox energizer bunny. Whether running marathons, organizing a 5k run for Team Fox in her community or encouraging and mentoring those around her, Missy throws all she has into raising awareness for Parkinson’s research. Much of her inspiration, she relays, comes from her father who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2001 at the age of 39:
“My dad motivated me every day. He made me question many things differently, helped me evaluate the pros/cons of decisions, understand their ramifications, and ultimately provided clarity around what I wanted to do with my life. Sometimes I may question being able to succeed, but I knew if my dad told me I could do it....then I could do it. I want to be that same source of motivation to whomever needs it!”
Missy has since translated those sentiments into action, and at times with unabashed spontaneity, but it wasn’t always easy. “At first, I think I was still on the edge of accepting my father’s diagnosis, and I just didn't know "how" to be involved. My dad had progressively gotten worse and after moving back to West Virginia, I kept reading more and more on The Michael J. Fox Foundation. One day it hit me, and I decided ‘I'm going to run the NYC Marathon’....” Just like that, Missy had a new challenge. She poured her endless energy into her training, and though the official 2012 marathon was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy, Missy ran in the unofficial version in Central Park, making the most of the opportunity to get to know her fellow Team Fox members.
Since then, Missy also ran the Vancouver Marathon this past May and is in final preparation for her very own Team Fox event this Sunday, October 6th-- a Sunday Funday 5k and Kids Run including a virtual run for those outside of West Virginia to participate in. She is also training full steam ahead for this year’s2013 NYC Marathon.
Missy often talks about her strong connection with other Team Fox members and how she feels reassured and empowered by having a community around her that understands the challenges of Parkinson’s : “I really don't know what I'd do without them! I talk about them as if I see them and hang out with them on a daily basis!
But the inspiration goes both ways. As the following Team Fox Mentors (and fellow 2013 NYC marathoners) can attest, Missy is a great friend and an incredible advocate for both Team Fox and for Parkinson’s awareness:
Team Fox Mentor Gwen Schroeder: Missy is a champion, her spirit is inspiring and from day one she was proactive and highly-committed to the cause. She is constantly thinking of new ways to contribute to Team Fox and is always available to support others. We are lucky to have her.
Team Fox Mentor Susan Bilotta: The first time I spoke to Missy Spangler we were on the phone for an hour talking about her event to raise money for Team Fox she planning on running the 2012 NYC Marathon. I was inspired by her excitement, positive energy and how much she loves and looks up to her Dad. We have been friends ever since that phone call. I am proud to call Missy my friend and fellow Team Fox member – her energy, positive spirit and desire to put an end to Parkinson’s is contagious.
Team Fox Mentor John Ryan: Missy's consistent dedication, boundless enthusiasm, and her endless support of all Team Fox events has inspired so many, Team Fox veterans as well as newbies, to get out there and achieve greatness! She is the epitome of #Thinkable!
Editor’s note: Living in the greater New York City area? Join a group of Team Fox members—including the above mentors!— in Central Park (72nd & Central Park West) at 8am to show your support for Missy by running a Virtual 5K in her honor. Anyone wanting to run in this location or elsewhere is encouraged to turn download the Charity Miles App and log your miles in support of The Michael J. Fox Foundation to help the impact of your miles go even further. Don’t miss this opportunity to run for Missy, or for the cause that means so much to us all.