More than 60 of you shared an #unselfie†-- a picture that represents why you're giving this season. We learned so much about your families and experiences, and saw some great shots in the process, from sweet pictures of warm and fuzzy family moments to action shots of families gearing up to jump out of a plane, go for a horseback ride or zip-line throuh a forest.
We had the chance to catch up with a few of the photographers and learn more about the stories behind the pictures, and what inspires them to participate this giving season.†
You might not know it from the picture above, but everyone in the shot just jumped out of a plane. At the age of 73, Kate Willse's grandfather, who had been trained to parachute in the military but never did, decided to take the leap. Her dad, who has Parkinson's disease, decided to join him, with Kate, her brother and her three uncles followed lead. "The thrill of the jump itself was enough to make it a memorable day, but that is not why I remember it so vividly," she says. "That day I witness my father prove that he was determined not to let Parkinson's affect his life."
Courtney Johnson tweeted a picture of her dad at her daughter's dance recital (right). He makes it to as many as possible, and Courtney gives so he can attend many more. Besides enjoying fine performances together, the family also runs 5Ks, and her parents started their own Parkinson's disease support group in their home town of Wetherford, OK. "I asked my dad why we give, and he said we just want to encourage everyone who can learn about it to get involved because we support MJF and searching for the cure," says Courtney.†
Duncan shared an image (left) of one of the rare "good moments" with his mom, who has had Parkinson's disease for 20 years, as well as dementia. "This was on a recent Saturday morning," he said. †"I walked in and she had a beaming smile on her face, and the more I encouraged it the wider her smile became. It was amazing, it was like having my Mum back." Duncan started long-distance cycling for The Michael J. Fox Foundation so he can have more moments like that, he says.
We also heard about you and your loved ones' passions, many of which were discovered only after their diagnoses. Katie Dixon's father found a new love for tinkering around, building dollhouses for nieces and nephews and anyone one asks. Since he was diagnosed, he's made more than 100 ukuleles. "It's the most random thing, but he loves to do it," says Katie. She shared an image of her family at a football game the day after Christmas. If you can't tell, everyone in the picture at right is freezing.
Though the pictures came from different parts of the country and the world, there were a few common threads: the importance of family, the value of being informed about Parkinson's disease and of course, an insatiable drive for a cure. Sandy Schlage, who shared a picture of her father enjoying the canyons in Arizona (below), sums it up in a memory she has of her mother first telling her about her father's Parkinson's disease. "Thirty years after I took that walk with my mother, I still have the same dreams and great hope that we will have a cure one day,† because there are so many amazing, dedicated, passionate people fighting for it," she says. "I want to be one of the many many people celebrating that great day, and its about time."
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