This was my second year participating in this great event, although last year was a bit odd. It was 15 months after my body started to break down. I had been on treatment for Young Onset Parkinsons for over 5 months at the time of the walk and knew because it was working that I had YOPD, however I still had a week to go before my follow up appointment where I'd be given the official diagnosis. So I was unsure if I should participate and attend or not... but my movement disorder neurologist had told me enough about what would happen if the medication worked and in turn I had the disease so I knew in my heart (and body's new better use) that I did. So I registered a team rather last minute and some amazing friends & family jumped aboard and off we went.
This year however marks just about a year into my diagnosis, there's no denying I have it anymore. So this year's Parkinson Superwalk seemed almost like my first and that much more important. I decided to register as soon as it opened in the spring and put a call out on social media for people to join the team. Well, let me tell you; that day I had NO idea what was going to happen in the months coming. 13 people registered to join my team without ever being asked. That in itself is beyond heartwarming to me without a cent of fundraising work being done. To know that there are so many people out there cheering me on, supporting and loving me and encouraging me to stay strong and keep pushing forward is an amazing feeling. I have said it once and I'll say it again; although I would have never expected or chosen to have Parkinsons and as scary as sometimes it can be I have gained so much more from this disease than it could possibly take from me. Invaluable lessons about life, myself, friendship and so much more. I am grateful beyond words for these amazing people in my life, there's no way I could ever possibly explain to them just how much it means to me and how much it lifts me up.
So as the team was formed it was time for a name. Since often we see a lot of superhero's at the walks across the country we wanted something fun, hero like and catchy... And then they started brainstorming and "Natasha's Ninjas" was formed! They went so above and beyond when it came to fundraising it's amazing. They participated in car washes, yard sales, bake sales, selling tickets on prizes and some even went door to door asking for pledges to support our team and the Superwalk! OH, and I cannot forget the Pie's for Parkinsons challenge... when I brought that idea to the team not only did they jump aboard but they did it with smiles on their faces and insane energy. WOW. My team rocks! And the result rocked too!!! I'm thrilled to say that this amazing team of mine raised over $5300! Woohoooo, way to go Ninjas! I had set a team goal that I thought was far too aggressive of $5000 and a personal goal of $2000. Both were exceeded! And to all the people that donated, bought tickets, baked goods or items at yard sales. Who made pledge donations, spread the word, shared the love, I thank you... From the bottom of my heart....
Prior to the walk starting I was touched when they spoke about my amazing team, about my journey with PD and how I share this blog with the PD community all over the world, how I sit on the board of Director's of the Parkinsons Society Maritime Region and how I'm an official World Parkinsons Blogger on route for the WPC in Portland Oregan in 2016. Then on the fly was asked to say a few words (normally not an issue for this gift to gab gal). However as I stood at the mic I was overwhelmed with a flood of emotions and could barely speak through the tears as I made an attempt to say thank you to my team of friends & family. There was so much more I should have said but I just couldn't get the words out. Like thank you to all the volunteers in the room, all the family members, friends & care givers of all the other people there with Parkinsons showing their love & support to my fellow Parkie's. To Dan the President of the PEI Chapter for all he does, for reaching out to me when I was first diagnosed & leading the way to support groups and programs available to me. So much more I should have said, but the tears wouldn't allow it today.
To check out some of my team's Pie's for Parkinsons videos visit:
Article that was in the local newspaper prior to the SuperWalk: