Derek Shavell from Boca Raton, FL, is preparing for his Bar Mitzvah next year with a Mitzvah Project that involves raising funds and awareness for Team Fox. Derek will cover 500 miles for the next few months by running, biking, walking and hiking. He will complete his mileage at the end of July by hiking the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim with his father.
We checked in with Derek to find out why he chose to support Parkinson’s research as his Mitzvah Project.
Team Fox: What made you want to raise funds for Parkinson’s research?
Derek Shavell: I wanted to raise funds for Parkinson's as a remembrance of my grandfather. When I was two, he died from complications of Parkinson's. Also, I had to do a project to help people, and I chose to raise money for a disease that is in my family. I am running, walking, biking, and hiking 450 to 550 miles from February to July. The end is a 33 rim-to-rim hike of the Grand Canyon with my Dad along with a friend and his father.
TF: What has been the most difficult activity you’ve done so far? What has been the longest distance you’ve covered in one time?
DS: I think that the most difficult activity I've done so far was probably the long hike/walks for the mileage with my father on Sundays. The most difficult part of that is the Florida heat, not the walking or the backpack on my back. The longest distance I've covered at one time was on a treadmill and stationary bike. I did 9 miles biking and straight after that I did 1 mile on the treadmill.
TF: What does this experience mean to you? What do you hope to learn from it?
DS: This experience means a lot to me. It is like a memoir of my grandfather that I never actually knew. If I can help people to raise money to try to cure Parkinson's then that means a lot. I hope to learn more about Parkinson's, and about other people with the disease.