Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Through the Eyes and Heart of an Advocate

Yesterday was a very special day for me. I brought together my team "Jim's Gems" for the second year in a row to New York City for the Parkinson's Unity Walk. I formed this team to honor one of my best friends Jim who has Young Onset Parkinson's Disease. He continues to inspire me and encourage me in my efforts to help find a cure. Without his support I would not be where I am. And that is a more active Advocate for my causes. I have walked 3 days/60 miles two years in a row for Breast Cancer. I have walked six years in a row for Multiple Sclerosis. I have walked two years in a row for Parkinson's Disease. And now my biggest endeavor to date is my effort to climb Mt. Hood in Oregon this July for Parkinson's and Alzheimer's Disease with "The Regulars".

I have been on all sides of the fence. I have been a caregiver to both of my parents. My mother battled heart disease and lung cancer on top of a rare blood disorder. My dad battled heart disease, had several mini strokes and just lost his will to live when my mom passed away. I cared for them both in my home while raising my boys who were just babies and my oldest who was 16. Along with my husband we cared for my parents in every way possible that you would care for someone that was ill. I will never forget this time nor will I ever wish it never happened. It was a time in my life when everything was right and made sense. When I lost both of my parents, which was within seventeen months of one another, my life crashed. But.....I rose abve and began a new journey. My journey of advocacy.

I know I can't begin to understand all diseases and what each one does to an individual. But what I do know is that my heart breaks knowing that people I love are fighting and people I have loved lost the fight. My hands are tied when someone says to me do you know what that disease is all about. No, I don't. I educate myself through books and Blogs and emails. I listen to those that have these diseases. I try to place myself in there shoes. The saying goes..."You can't walk the walk unless you talk the talk". This may be true in some incidences. But I believe an advocate is put into a different role. A role of caring for those that are looking for someone to give them hope that there are people who care enough to go the extra mile to help raise the funds to help find a cure.

I have said it before and I will say it another thousand times over......I will walk with you, for you, next to you, for my children, your children, there children. As long as God gives me the strength and the courage to pursue whatever avenue need be to raise the money, to draw awareness. I will be the shoulder you can lean on when you feel all is lost. Never will I let you feel that. An advocates heart is huge. As I know all caregivers hearts are also and all the ones who have to live everyday with these diseases. We are all in this together, there is no mistaken this. We join hands, hearts, souls to become one and find the cures.

Thank you all for giving me this opportunity to help. For making me feel important in your life. I thank God everyday for putting me in this role. For giving me the opportunities that have presented themselves to me. On behlaf of Jim's Gems and The Regulars......thank you for all of your support!!!!!!

There is still time to donate:




click on the links at the bottom of the home page for Alzheimer's or Parkinson's

World Up!
Eileen - aka........Strong Feather

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