It was a Friday night at 7:30 after a full work week and I had to get up the next morning by 6:30am to meet with my brand new running group. In many ways my bed was calling to me, but on this Friday night I was not about to go to sleep early. I was at the annual TeamFox MVP dinner in New York City. The MVP dinner is for volunteers, like me, who raise a certain level of money the year before. It is the Foundation’s way of saying thank you.
I always love this dinner, not just because it is in a nice catering hall and you get to meet Michael J. Fox, but because I always meet some amazing people who inspire me to do more, try a little harder and give just a little more of myself. I always walk away from this dinner knowing that somehow I am helping to find a cure for Parkinson’s and that all of my efforts are important.
In years past I’ve met my now friend and mountain climber, Enzo Simone, who is climbing 10 Mountains in 10 Years to help cure Alzheimers and Parkinson’s. One year I met a 70 something woman who organized a bike race in New England in under 3 months. Everybody told her that bike races don’t race any money. She did it anyway and raised over $25,000. This past year she raised a ton more than that! I doubt anyone is telling her that bike races don’t raise money anymore.
This year I met a 58 year old woman with Parkinson’s who holds a Garden Walk in her town every year. This past year she raised over $55,000. Plus I met her husband who ran his first marathon about 2 years ago at the age of 58. Then he ran 2 marathons, Chicago and New York, in less than a month last year. Now that takes guts!
Meeting these people, especially a 60 year old who ran 2 marathons in a month, always rejuvenates my drive and my motivation. It is people like this that I think of on those days I want to quit. I keep reminding myself that these people are just like me, if not in worse starting places than me. I know that they won’t quit and that makes me know that I will not quit.
I know I’m lucky to be able to run and to train for a marathon. There are people out there that have difficulty walking. I plan to treasure my running ability as I begin my full training for the 2011 NYC Marathon. I can’t wait to be part of the 26.2 mile trek through the city that never sleeps. I hope the gentleman with the ‘Free Hugs’ sign is on 1st Avenue again. I’d love to get my free hug for the second year in a row.