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A promise to myself is a promise worth keeping when it comes to giving my all, for the benefit of all, whom live with an insidious disease like Parkinson’s. I’ve been working on that promise for the last few years, and a few weeks ago when I was visiting with Connie Elliott, I heard one of the nicest compliments ever spoken to me. “You have a gift. You give hope.”

We spoke of change that needed to occur for us to get closer to the elusive cure, our faith in a God that is good and will help us through this ordeal, visited about people we know in common, and those whom we have heard about that have their heart in the right place for helping others. Most importantly, we prayed together. Her beautiful words of thanksgiving, of a future that will be better without Parkinson’s Disease, and her petition to guide all of us on this journey, brought about a feeling of comfort, knowing that all of these prayers will be heard.

The promise that I made to myself a few years ago came after a very rough time in my life. The reality of being suicidal after a Parkinson’s Disease diagnosis came bearing down on me because of the self-centered feelings that I was not going to be ok. I was not going to be able to deal with a progressive, neurodegenerative, incurable disease because that was not how my life was meant to be lived. Only after much grief and tribulation did I realize that I was not helping anyone because I was feeling sorry for myself.

My journey has been filled with much heartache, but with many more blessings than I can count. I realized the pain and anguish that would come with sharing my story publicly, but I chose to do it anyway. I realized that the work being done in the background would take countless hours, but I accepted the challenge anyway. I realized that the long, sleepless nights were not going to bring much success in anything worth sharing, but I plotted on anyway. The countless blessings that I have received and shared with many others are what I cherish the most on this journey. The people with Parkinson’s Disease, their caregivers, and their beautiful families that just won’t quit, in order to make this disease go away.

There is no doubt in my mind that what we all do as a family around the world living with Parkinson’s Disease will not have been done in vain. We will infuence research, we will play a role in all that involves the patient community, and we will make the health-related quality of life of the several million living around the world living with Parkinson’s Disease much better.

My promise still stands to do my best, because after all, my best is all that I have to offer. If it gives hope to others, I give thanks to my God because of His guidance. If it is a gift, I also give thanks because “every good gift comes from above”.

And by the way Connie, I just want you to know that you have a wonderful gift too. You give me hope to carry on and to do my best.

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