Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Team Fox...Together is ONE
To all my fellow Team Fox members, I have an idea for you.
What a tangled but beautiful web we seem to weave. We never know where we will eventually meet our comrades in arms (so to speak), or who will stick together in this web we call life.
With that being said, I’d like to talk about raising awareness and funds to find a cure for Parkinson’s Disease, but not as individuals. I’d like to talk about looking at ourselves not as islands alone in the world, but as continents of people united by a common cause to conquer Parkinson’s Disease. Together we can do this, but the key word is “Together”.
Team Fox team mates don’t always have to stand alone in their efforts to conquer Parkinson’s Disease. Now, maybe it’s just the way I’ve been brought up having a Sicilian family background which is hugely based on solidarity, but I’ve always felt that there is more strength in numbers than there is in being alone.
As some of you might know, ever since I first started my little effort called “10 Mountains - 10 Years (A Quest for the Cure)” in 2006, our team motto has always been “Together is ONE”.
I honestly believe that through time people have come to understand exactly what my team means when we say “Together is ONE”. They’ve been attracted to the light of comradery and altruistically becoming part of a collective team like Team Fox or part of my team the Regulars. Above and beyond all else, the goal is finding a cure, and if our efforts will be more successful by working together with others in our areas who have common goals, then we should find those people, form our teams, and conquer Parkinson's Disease together.
The idea I’d like to propose to all my fellow Team Fox members:
Look around you, find the other people in your own areas (maybe the same city, same county, or a tri-county area).
Design a big event as a team - which would normally be hard to orchestrate while acting individually.
There’s magic in the effort. There’s strength in the unity of people. There’s energy in exchanging ideas and turning them into reality. I honestly believe you’ll grow, learn, bond and find massive success in working together under our common cause. It’s also a great feeling to know that there is someone out there trying just like you, and it’s even nicer when you’re both trying together.
“Together is ONE”
I’ve been pretty lucky to have great people, real grass roots advocates just like you and I (just like “us”), look into my project and say maybe I can give you a hand with that. I can always use help. I would never consider myself a master at anything but knowing how to see through the eyes of a student. In all truth, my eyes are always wide open to the fantastically kind hearted enlightening people around me. These are my fellow expedition team mates in “the Regulars”, and they are also the fellow Team Fox team mates who freely exchange thoughts and ideas with me. These are the people around me who constantly show me that there are ways to improve on any idea I might have in ways I never considered. They have always shed light on a path which I once thought lead to something good and instead joined me on a journey down a road to something greater.
When I designed my project to span a decade I did so with just that in mind. I knew that if I designed a project as a one day, one shot, one time, one mountain effort I simply wouldn’t have the opportunity to attract like minded people to help with our battle against Parkinson’s Disease. So, the solution for me was to create a bigger, higher, harder, longer project. I would eventually draw the project out to become a decade long instead of a one time effort. Creating an annual event gave me the opportunity to learn from mistakes I would make, and would give me the time to learn and improve upon my effort through each coming year. As it turned out, the year following my first event people remembered my project, and were more willing to help me with it the second year round, and so on through time.
In the case of “the Regulars” and our 10 Mountains - 10 Years (A Quest for the Cure) project, we’ve crossed paths with and attracted other Team Fox members through time. I believe you can do the same with the Team Fox members around you!
Team Fox is all around you.
I met Ken Glowienke (Focus on a Cure) on Myspace then officially met in person at a Team Fox MVP dinner in NY. Knowing how much effort Ken puts into his projects and reading about him on line made the meeting with him at the Team Fox dinner feel like meeting a rock star, because he was already larger than life in my eyes. Even though Ken lives in Illinois, we always supported each other’s efforts in any way we could across the miles via internet. Interestingly, now Ken has become a part of the 10 Mountains - 10 Years story through the feature film documentary by Back Light Productions. Ken very kindly volunteered to have his entire Deep Brain Stimulation surgery filmed as a portion of the movie. This includes his entire process before, during, and after the operation. He like "the Regulars" want to show people that they could and should be proactive about raising awareness for this cause and further they can be proactive in finding better treatments for themselves.
It’s also funny to note that Thomas Sabourin (T-Run) was at the same Team Fox Dinner during which I met Ken Glowienke although we didn’t meet that night. I came across Tom (who lives in Wisconsin) officially on MySpace and saw that he was involved in Team Fox. I could see from photos that he was in great condition and that he had a background in mountaineering also, so I asked him if he would like to join up with the Regulars. Flash forward a year or so to now and he’s getting ready to fly to Africa to climb Mount Kilimanjaro with us. I still haven't met him personally but he got a chance to meet my team mate Eric Buzzetto (Gladiator) at the Team Fox MVP dinner this year, and another team mate named Eileen Colon at the Parkinson’s Unity Walk in Central Park.
Nadyne Perlin who is from New Jersey (we call her Giant) ran in the New York City Marathon for Team Fox in 2007 found “the Regulars” on MySpace. She wrote me to say her dad struggles with Parkinson’s and she wants to continue her efforts with Team Fox by climbing Kilimanjaro with “the Regulars”.
Then I believe there is an outer circle to the advocates and volunteers for Team Fox which we seldom hear about but I see them out there in action all the time. These are the people who quite privately and out of the spotlight do everything possible to help and support those who are officially are Team Fox members. This describes New Jersey’s own Eileen (Strong Feather) Colon. She was a MySpace friend of Ken Glowienke and was extremely moved and inspired by his efforts to conquer Parkinson’s Disease. Through Ken she was introduced to me and we officially met at one of the Parkinson’s Unity Walks in NYC. To make her very dynamic and long story short Eileen has become really well known on both MySpace and Facebook as a person with lots of ideas, support, love and deep compassion for those struggling with Parkinson’s Disease. Eileen has even gone so far as to drive in one long shot epic to the exact middle of the United States (Kansas) from her home in New Jersey (a 26 hour trip each way) just to spend 2 hours visiting her friend Mary who suffers with Parkinsons' Disease. Also, this past May, she also traveled to speak in front of a Parkinson’s Disease caregivers meeting in Tennessee. Eileen is 52 years old, and even in the face of prior medical concerns about her heart she joined "the Regulars" to climb Mount Hood in 2008 and is now back for more with us to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in July 2009. Coincidentally, she has now officially become a Team Fox member.
Then there are the chance meetings which bring people together. Last year on Mount Hood while we were there climbing our third mountain in the series of ten charity mountain climbs. Our team was shattered and demoralized by bad weather on a first attempt on the mountain. In fact they closed the mountains down entirely due to positively evil weather and lightning storms. We had evacuated and gone back to Portland to wait it out, but tucked away high up on Mount Hood was Lori Saviers (from Ohio). She and a friend had found a spot to ride out the weather unnoticed by the park officials and unharmed by the weather. A few days later out of my team of 10 people, 3 went back to try climbing in a second attempt, and 2 made it to the summit of Mount Hood with our team flag, one of which was Troy Parker who personally suffers with Parkinson’s Disease. Troy and my team mate Brett were trying to take photos of themselves on the summit when across the narrow ridge walked Lori Saviers to help them. She grabbed their camera and snapped a few photos then listened to Troy describe how he had Parkinson’s Disease and had become part of “the Regulars” to help raise awareness for this disease. She was so taken by having seen Troy earlier struggling on the slopes below, then finding them on the summit only to hear that Troy climbed all that way with battling with Parkinson’s and was immediately inspired to join “the Regulars” on our next effort. Although Troy is not on the Kilimanjaro 2009 Team Lori Saviers (Premonition) has vowed take the message to the top of Kilimanjaro.
So, in a nut shell I thought it would be nice to let my fellow Team Fox team mates know that we have all been out there doing what we can on our own, but this year look around you and get to know the other Team Fox members living in your areas. Join forces and create big, beautiful, fantastic and inspiring events together. The world is your oyster, the ideas are endless. You don't have to climb mountains in order to take your message to the people, you just need to connect with them. In this army of change our battle is to conquer Parkinson's. Your weapons of choice just may be ideas & inspiration. Aim for the heart and let your arrows fly.
We can do this together. Believe in yourself. Believe in "us" and try.
The success in your results could be larger than life.
10 Mountains - 10 Years (A Quest for the Cure).
The key Team Fox members in the above (some pages may be out of date):
Vincent Roland Simone (aka Enzo)
Here's a link to one of my quick home video music clips, to show you just how big our army of change can be if we all fight for these cures together.