Each month, we spotlight someone in our community who has an inspiring story to tell. Today, we are happy to feature J Wilson from Abilene, TX.
What has your journey been like since your wife Lorraine received her Parkinson’s diagnosis?
I think we started our life over the day she was diagnosed, much like the day we got married. I have always been an “I will figure it out” type of person. I did not quite know what to say or do. That day she needed a hug. Now we both know more about Parkinson’s and living with it. She knows more than I do, but we are figuring it out together.
How do you live well each day?
I’ve always used exercise for fitness and/or stress management. So, I decided that I would create a physical challenge to:
1. Honor Lorraine
2. Raise funds for the Davis Phinney Foundation (Lorraine is an Ambassador)
3. Motivate me to exercise daily over the winter months
My goal was to ride my recumbent trike 6,000 miles between October 21, 2019, and April 21, 2020. I set those dates based on April being Parkinson’s Awareness Month, April 21 being Lorraine’s birthday, and October 21 being Lorraine’s half-birthday. (Yes, we have celebrated her birth twice a year since we married–there is a funny story about that.) I named this the Victory Cents fundraiser because a modest pledge of one cent per mile equaled $60.
6,000 miles. 6 months. $6,000. Did you make it?
Yes and no.
Yes: I finished about three weeks early on Saturday, March 28, 2020. I had hoped to complete the final ride in April with as many cyclists as wished to join me so local media would highlight Parkinson’s. Due to social distancing and issues related to the pandemic, Lorraine and I rode together that day and took photos as my bike computer hit 6K. We simply enjoyed our ride, knowing it was an important milestone for us and a demonstration of living well for others.
No: Donations have been good but are still being accepted in order to reach $6,000.
What do you wish you had known when your wife was diagnosed that you know now about living with Parkinson’s?
I knew nothing about Parkinson’s. We made adjustments with each new medication, new diet considerations, sleep patterns, and the unknown.
I wish we had seen a Movement Disorder Specialist sooner. Although it scared me to death to attend our first Victory Summit, it was because we did that we understood the importance of seeing a specialist. Lorraine was able to make an appointment with the MDS who spoke at that event. The first positive change we made involved starting a medication that effectively controlled her physical symptoms.
J WILSON’S PHILOSOPHY
What do you wish everyone living with Parkinson’s and their care partners knew about living well?
You need to have a positive attitude. You will have to make adjustments, but it’s important that you remember that you are still the same people you were before Parkinson’s came into the picture. Daily exercise helps. Talking to each other helps. Finding great resources and events helps. (Thank you to the folks at the Davis Phinney Foundation.) Don’t be afraid to request help when you need it.
Do you have a fundraising story you’d like to share?
Your story, like J’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. Or, even better, head over and register for the Every Victory Counts Challenge that’s happening during the entire month of July.