This is Allan. In 2016, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease—a chronic, degenerative neurological disorder that affects one's ability to move. “When my doctor told me I have Parkinson’s, at the age of 48, I assumed my life was over,” says Allan. “I didn’t know much about this disease, and it took me several months to calm my fears enough to think I could have a meaningful future.” So what did Allan do in response? He got moving.
He learned as much as he could about the disease and research behind treatments, and he joined Team Fox, the grassroots community fundraising program at The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF). He also joined the Board of Power for Parkinson’s, an organization that provides free exercise classes to people living with Parkinson’s disease in the greater Austin area and around the world through instructional videos.
He didn’t stop there. In fact, he started running, increasing his distance mile by mile. Now Allan will run his first marathon on Sunday, Feb. 19 as captain of the “Kicking Parkinson’s Bootay” team. He and the other team members, who live with Parkinson's or have family members touched by it, have raised almost $21,000 for the MJFF.
More than 10 million people worldwide are living with Parkinson’s disease, and while there is no known cure, many experts say significant breakthroughs are close. These include better treatments and even stopping disease progression. If you’re interested in supporting Team Fox and Allan’s team, click here (100 percent of Team Fox proceeds go straight to MJFF research programs).
“Since my diagnosis, one of the biggest surprises has been that while having a chronic illness certainly presents challenges, it can also teach you a lot and lead to unexpected gains. For example, Parkinson’s is giving me greater awareness of others’ hardships and pain; of the inequities in health care and other resources; and of just how much people need each other in order to thrive, especially when we struggle. It’s giving me opportunities for deeper and more authentic relationships, for reconciliation, personal growth, wisdom, deep gratitude, and newfound purpose, hope, and joy. Its lessons unfold each day, little by little, through living life, enduring its setbacks, recognizing its challenges, embracing its beauty, living out loud as a man with Parkinson’s, and nurturing myself and others through more vulnerable authentic love. I am grateful for all of this and more.”
If you’re in Austin, go cheer him on this Sunday at the corner of Park Boulevard and Red River, beginning at 9:15am. Go Allan!