I have a bookmark I received from the Davis Phinney Foundation that simply says “Be Courageous”.  Why does a PWP (person with Parkinsons) need to be courageous? I think that’s pretty self-evident; this is a challenging, lifelong condition.  But what does being courageous look like?  I believe it comes in many different forms; but recently I watched a video that gripped me to the core. Background, Jennifer Parkinson (yes her last name really is Parkinson) is a woman with young onset Parkinson’s.  She is a single mom who still works and has also become a strong advocate for the Parkinson’s community. She co-founded a Parkinson’s boxing program called Neuroboxing, as well as a very successful Parkinson’s Facebook group. Recently she very courageously posted a video of one of her boxing sessions.  It shows her experiencing a very debilitating “off” episode. She could have justifiably thrown in the towel and gone home for the day. No one could have blamed her. But she didn’t. With the support of her coaches, she got up, and very slowly at first, fought back. The end of the video shows her throwing one - two punches with power, intent, fluidity and speed, essentially telling Parkinson’s, you can knock me down, but don’t expect me to stay there.

What have you done to be courageous? Maybe you’re newly diagnosed and finally had the courage to tell your family, or your boss. Maybe you’ve been living with depression and finally had the courage to reach out and ask for help. Or maybe you finally came up with the courage to attend your first Parkinson’s exercise class.  I can guarantee you that if you got out of bed this morning, knowing that Parkinson’s is lurking around the corner ready to pounce, you showed courage. 

In the words of Winston Churchill, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts“.

— written by Cidney Donahoo


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