Lacing up for PD

Or, “OMG I’m running my first 5K and here’s how you can help”

Like all good things (…), it started on Facebook. The algorithm that sometimes brings strangers into our news feeds brought me this post, “The Gift of Urgency,” on a Monday morning three weeks ago and, for some reason, I clicked.

Erin, the blog’s author, was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s at a very young age. I don’t know her, but the subject hits close to home. It hits at home, actually, to someone I know pretty well.

Holly and Cindy at graduationMy mom was diagnosed with Parkinson’s more than 15 years ago.

A lot of you have met her, but if you haven’t, I’ve got to tell you that she’s a pretty exceptional human being. She’s the executive director of a nonprofit; a dedicated wife; and a beyond-standout mom who, among other things since her diagnosis, planned and led two 120-person choir trips to Europe, road tripped at all hours to be with me through health crises, and led the charge of moving my sister and me in and out of dorm rooms, sorority houses and apartments (I think she’d do it single-handedly if we let her). She’s strong, smart, kind and generally a force to be reckoned with. The fact that she is living with Parkinson’s does anything but define her but it’s a reality nonetheless.

When I read that Erin’s first order of business was to create a fundraising team for Dam to Dam, a 20K/5K in Des Moines, I knew in an instant that I was going to join that team and fundraise with her. Hilarious, because I’ve never been a runner. I was that kid that faked sick in elementary school to get out of running the mile. I was the power center defender in soccer and the towering post in basketball, both of which afforded me as little running as possible. So…yes, clearly I am going to run 3.1 miles.

In her blog, Erin says, “My wish for my friends and family who are reading this is that you will be as lucky as I am, to have the opportunity to face something that tests your limits and makes you realize how small you truly are in this world. Something that pushes you to move forward faster and stronger than you ever have before.”

Parkinson’s has been a passion for my family since my mom’s diagnosis many years ago. And Erin’s blog reminded me that there’s still work to be done, and if I can, I should, even if I never have before. So training for a 5K becomes much easier when I remember that June 1 is a lot bigger than the run itself.

Here’s where you come in: I set a fundraising goal of $500 (but I’m hoping to exceed that!) and I would love the support of my friends in any way you’re comfortable contributing. Giving on the MJFF website is super easy and so is the link to donate:

Whether you think of this as a “Run, Holly, Run!” fund or a way to support my mom or someone in your life with Parkinson’s, I truly thank you.

Edit: I have no words. Thanks to you, I raised more than $1,500 for MJFF.