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 Kent Toland from Portland, Oregon.
Which event did you participate in?
I just completed Ride The Rockies 2019.
Why did you decide to join Team DPF?
When I was diagnosed at age 54, I was at the top of my career as a surgeon. I had spent 20 years in my specialty and was immediately forced to face early retirement. I learned quickly how much of my identity was wrapped up in being a doctor.
It took me a long time to come to terms with my diagnosis. On the positive side, I started to eat more carefully, lost 35 pounds and began to exercise daily. I already enjoyed golf, cycling, downhill skiing and hiking, and took those to a new level. I had previously cycled; however, over the years I had become overweight and out of shape because of my always busy work and family schedule. I’d always say, “I’ll get back in shape once I retire.” That time came much sooner than I thought. I have continued to ski (my true passion) as much as possible and noticed that when I'm actively engaged in these activities, particularly cycling, my Parkinson’s symptoms fall away.
I did Cycle Oregon in 2015 and 2016. In 2016 I met Pat Donahoo at the World Parkinson Congress and his enthusiasm about cycling rubbed off on me. I had done some of my medical training in Denver; so, it was just the impetus I needed to make plans to get back to Colorado. I had some family issues come up that got in the way of my training, but I eventually got back in touch with Lauren Kehn and joined Team DPF.
What’s been your best memory as part of Team DPF?
To prepare for Ride The Rockies, I downhill skied all winter. I bought a Peloton bike in early 2017 and I pretty much ride it every day. It’s easy and safe and I can do cycling, meditation, stretching and yoga through their membership app.
I came a few days early to Ride The Rockies and was happy to discover that the extra days acclimation and my training made it so that the altitude wasn’t a problem for me on the ride. I felt great and had a great time. Team DPF had a great set up at the ride and they made all of us feel part of the family.
What are the most important actions you took that helped you reach your fundraising goal?
It was actually pretty easy. I originally did a birthday fundraiser on Facebook, and I also sent out emails. The money came in from very unlikely places. You’d be surprised how many people are willing to support a cause you care about.
What would you say to someone interested in joining Team DPF?
Through cycling, there is so much untapped potential for people to reduce their Parkinson’s symptoms and live well with it. If you’re living with Parkinson’s, RTR is a great goal to work toward. If you know someone with Parkinson’s, it’s a week of cycling you’ll never forget, and you’ll get to make a difference at the same time.
Do you have a Team DPF or fundraising story you'd like to share?
Your story, like Kent’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, learn how to get started here.