Jon was diagnosed in 1992 – our son was just 10 years old. For years we lived life getting used to our new normal, which changed daily. As with many care partners, I felt isolated caring for my husband in a world of questions and unknowns. At a moment when I was holding tight to the last thread a friend asked if I had heard of Parkinson’s Resources. I called and was immediately invited into the office – a puddle of tears and questions. It was at that moment PRO saved my life.
Each day it is about taking one step at a time – always living in the moment, not looking back at what we lost or ahead to an unknown.
They listened to me, comforted me, and outlined next steps I should take for my family and sanity. While many of those steps were logistics and legalities, one was an invitation to join their care partner support group. I had always been reticent to join a support group and see a future that may or may not be mine. There were five us in the monthly group. Lifetime friendships were created, and together we laughed, we cried, and we shared suggestion for this journey called Parkinson’s. Our group grew to 17 members over the next few years, now meeting twice a month. I cherished that connection so much, I continued going to our meetings for a year after Jon passed in 2011. I’m still friends with some of those dear women. Our group was priceless.
Why I Give
PRO gave me the resources, connections, and ultimately strength to steady myself and family during those most trying years. At every opportunity I share PRO with people I come in contact with. Five years ago, I was at an event Jon and I enjoyed together for years. Reading through the program I came across a list of donors – one name I knew personally. He was a young man experiencing a developmental disability who worked two jobs and was proudly listed under the $100 donor level. That’s when I was struck by the need to give more than just my time. If this young man with many life challenges could be charitable in his giving, then I certainly could be too! Jon and I had saved for a rainy day before his diagnosis. We never could have forecast how rainy it was going to get.
My deep commitment to making the world a better place in any way I can, isn’t the only reason I invest in nonprofits doing good work, like PRO – but it also brings me great joy. Seeing how much PRO has grown in locations and services, brings me pride in knowing I was a part of that. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t have a checkbook that just opens and out comes money. I started with Sole Support and while I was at first uncomfortable asking for donations (heck – I’m pretty sure there is still Campfire Girl candy in my mom’s attic!), I was moved by how generous people were to join me in supporting these programs. Each day I make choices to enable my charitable giving – I bring my own to lunch meetings, and I’m not as regular in the hair and nail salon as I once was. Imagine if you chose to have one less latte a week and instead gave that $4 to PRO in a recurring donation. A small impact to your routine could quickly add up to sustaining services right here in our backyard.
Each day it is about taking one step at a time – always living in the moment, not looking back at what we lost or ahead to an unknown. It’s about bringing joy to others, and for me it is about helping families like mine to ensure their journey with Parkinson’s is easier than ours was before we met PRO. In my commitment, I am a proud donor to services today, research for tomorrow, and have included PRO in my estate plans so a legacy of giving can go on.