In the spring of 2016, at the age of 37, I was diagnosed with young onset Parkinson's Disease, a degenerative neurological disorder for which there's currently no known cure. Nearly 6 years after I first noticed a tremor in my right hand, I have been fortunate that my symptoms so far have been mild and progressed slowly.
One of my main goals is to stay unrelentingly positive while enjoying every day. Diet and particularly exercise have been shown to help slow the progression of PD, so I'm focused on controlling what I can control. With tremendous resources dedicated to the cause, I am 100% confident that the medical community will eventually find a cure... but I'm going to fight with everything I've got in the meantime.
Three years ago, I founded Team PAPA D (Powering Against Parkinson's Disease) and enlisted a group of friends and family to participate in the Civilian Military Combine as a catalyst to raise funds towards a cure. In 2017, our ranks increased and we took on a Spartan race in Philadelphia followed by another Spartan race at West Point in 2018. Cumulatively, we raised nearly $500,000 for Parkinson's research and I remain blown away, overwhelmed and humbled by the amazingly generous response.
This year, we can't wait to raise the bar. Once again, Spartan Founder and CEO Joe De Sena has generously offered to waive the entry fee for participating members of Team PAPA D. That means that 100% of your registration fee, donations and fundraising will go DIRECTLY to high-impact Parkinson's research through The Michael J. Fox Foundation. We can't wait, and we hope you'll join us.
Since taking on this life challenge, in many ways I feel that I am now stronger than before, boosted by all of the support that surrounds us. While I never spent much time being sad about my diagnosis, I have shed more than a few tears being overwhelmed and moved by the sheer generosity, kindness and love that exists in the hearts of our communities and friends. As our late University of Pennsylvania football coach Lake Staffieri used to say, "Setbacks pave the way for comebacks!"
Peace and love,