Each month, we spotlight an inspiring story from someone in our Team DPF® community who is helping to improve the quality of life of people living with Parkinson’s by raising funds. Today, we are happy to feature Helen Power, a retired veterinarian from Santa Cruz, CA.
WHICH EVENT DID YOU PARTICIPATE IN?
I participated in the Team DPF yoga class this year and the Every Victory Counts Challenge in July 2020.
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO JOIN TEAM DPF?
A year after I began to notice that my foot felt weird, my doctor diagnosed me with Parkinson's. I felt like a bucket of freezing water had been poured on my head.
My neurologist specializes in Parkinson's but told me that medicine can only go so far. I have to take ownership and do my part. I was retired when diagnosed, and although I wasn't a runner, I heard about a Fox 5K in the area and thought, “I have Parkinson’s. I need to do this. It’s just a road.”
When I set out on my first run, I didn't even make it a mile. But by the time the 5K came around, I completed 3.1 miles! Stepping across that finish line in the fall of 2017 made me realize I liked running, and I found a community in my local running group. In 2019, I ran an 11-mile race and a half marathon, and I planned to do the same in 2020; however, with the arrival of COVID, I went from running six miles at a time to just two or three miles. And with a grudge.
Then in June of this year, Team DPF reached out to see how I was doing. It was so kind and just the kind of outreach I desperately needed. I said yes to the invitation to join Team DPF yoga, and I soon learned about the Every Victory Counts Challenge.
WHAT’S BEEN YOUR BEST MEMORY AS PART OF TEAM DPF?
Team DPF gave me focus again and something to do that is bigger than myself. That difference in feeling is what works and gets me out the door. It's burdensome to do something just because it’s good for you. But, doing something because you’re part of something, because somebody wants to know you're doing it, that makes all the difference. Having someone say, "You're here!" during Team DPF yoga made a world of difference for me.
What would you say to someone interested in joining Team DPF?
"Do you exercise? Set a goal, let your first goal be something you know you can achieve, and join the community to help you get there."
Checking in and having someone care that you are sticking with your goal helps. What I experienced through the Team DPF yoga class helped me feel the accountability I needed to complete the Every Victory Counts Challenge. My experience through Team DPF yoga and the weekly emails was more than enough to keep me engaged.
With Parkinson's, we must embrace the fact that exercise is like taking our medicine. It's like a pill, and we must do it. So, it may as well be fun!
The Foundation’s focus on living well with Parkinson’s is special. Other organizations are wonderful and have provided valuable information, but what DPF offers is confirmation that this can be okay. When I’m making efforts that are achievable (exercise, meditation, breathing, mindfulness), life is good. It's just a road.
DO YOU HAVE A TEAM DPF OR FUNDRAISING STORY YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE?
Your story, like Helen's, could be featured on our blog and Facebook page so others can learn from your experiences. Submit Your Team DPF Moments of Victory® Story now.
If you’re not yet part of Team DPF but you’d like to join us in raising money to help people live well with Parkinson’s today, contact our team to get started.