About magnaready

A wife, mother and Parkinson's advocate. My blog is inspired by the lessons our children re-open our minds to when dealing with a loved one with life altering health challenges. Here I help preserve the legacy of their father - pre and post Parkinson's diagnosis.

Dear Mr. President…my dad was fired for having Parkinson’s

A thing we have learned on this journey, is that a disease affects the whole family and to not listen and validate our children’s voices would be ill-advised.

Children’s words are often uncomplicated and simplistic.

Our eldest daughter came down the stairs a year ago, handed me a letter and declared “I need you to mail this.”

The White House Pennsylvania Avenue Washington, DC

The White House
Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC

I hesitated…… my brain unable to process what was happening…… came to… and said yes.

I opened it.

"He dint do anything wrong."

“He dint do anything wrong.”

Read and re-read it.

Wept for her reality.

He Didn't Do Anything Wrong

He Didn’t Do Anything Wrong

Drove to the post office

and as I slipped it in the mail slot, I felt overwhelmed by her ability not only to articulate but to EXPECT change.

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Because as a family we stand together, united to speak out, proud and leaning forward for those with disabilities that aren’t treated fairly.  It’s NOT enough to just wish Don to get better but, as a unified group, we have to BE better and foster change.

Libby did receive a response back from The President.

I think she felt she was heard.

Her truth was hard to handle but the real truth of being fired because you have a disease is a blinding reality for too many people in our community.

We will affect change.

Happy Birthday!

When Don and I were dating, some 24 years ago, I would often sit in an office at his alma mater, Wittenberg, waiting for him to “finish one last thing” or make “just one more recruiting call”.  He valued his job but more than anything, he was honored to be called a Wittenberg Tiger. I knew then that I was second fiddle to his career and many young men.  As I sat there and tried to pass time, there was one 8 by 10 picture front and center on his desk that I stared at.  Three men he would pridefully call warriors with tremendous work ethic and mental toughness. Three men that battled day in and day out on the offensive line and in the academic classroom.  Three men in the trenches that helped secure an OAC Championship. Three leaders that showed incredible respect for each other and their teammates. Three people he never could forget.  Eric Horstman, Scott Bowen, Ken Bonner.

Wittenberg Tigers

Eric Horstman, Scott Bowen, Ken Bonner.

As Don move on to new challenges, offices and environments, this picture always remained on his desk.  Even as our life grew, it became surrounded by pictures of our girls and it continued to provide an instant reminder of his roots. When we relocated to Raleigh, Don brought the picture home.  I never asked why but I recall the day he shared the story of these three men he was honored to coach with our girls.  It immediately brought me back to the moment he spoke so highly of them to me.  Explaining that these men played football in the purest sense.  Just for the love of the game. You could feel his sincere admiration.

Then our home was destroyed by fire… a long story for another post…and all of our pictures were scorched.  Years were spent replacing and restoring us whole again but sorting through the charred memories was one of the most difficult things I had to do.  You have the memories stored in your mind but a picture silently recaptures your emotions and transcends you back to that moment in time.   Somethings, we had to accept, would never be replaced.

Don has never been someone who wanted to accumulate “things”.  He is not one that wants the latest toys or technology.  His birthday was coming up and when you love someone who has a progressive disease, the only gift you want to bestow on them is restored health.  Last I searched, I couldn’t find the gift of health.  Once you come to terms with the fact that you are not able to grant or find a cure,  you hope you can give the gift of a feeling.  The pleasurable sensation of what it feels like to not have the disease. A moment in time, a reprieve, a transcended cure of sorts.

Don had reconnected with Scott and Eric this fall.  They were kind enough to take time way from their families, travel and pay us a visit. Don was completely honored to share with them at this point in their lives and reminisce about the days of the past.  I mentioned the picture – not sure if they would even recall it.  Scott relayed that his dad had actually taken it and yes, he was still in possession of it.

So for Don’s birthday this week, with the help of Scott, the picture now proudly is displayed in our home again. A true homecoming of sorts. A momentary cure. A restored reminder of strength, courage and loyalty.  A piece of the past providing fortitude for the future.  Stories of three men that our girls will be able to hear, visualize and learn from.

With the pictures Scott sent, he enclosed a card with birthday wishes.  He signed it “Tiger Up”.

I explained to the girls that this is unwritten “man code”, and really means ~love~

Keep Going!

Don’t Stop Trying Because You’ve Hit A Wall……DSC_0128Progress Is Progress No Matter How Small!

Never know where you'll end up if you don't keep going!

You never know where you’ll end up if you don’t keep going!

 

Russell Wilson’s Kindness Leaves A Mark

http://espn.go.com/espnw/news-commentary/article/10375235/espnw-touch-kindness-seattle-seahawks-quarterback-russell-wilson?ex_cid=2014_bnnr_ESPNWTDFY14_OutbrainD_aqsn

The title of the article …. Russell Wilson’s Kindness Leaves A Mark…. we should all ask~ what mark will we leave.  It’s easy to get consumed in our daily lives but I hope we all take time out to better the lives of others- on a super bowl level!

NEW YORK — One day in 2009, Russell Wilson found himself addressing hundreds of students at St. Timothy’s School in Raleigh, N.C.

We Can ALL do great things!

We Can ALL do great things!

The topic was bullying.

At the time, Wilson was the starting quarterback for NC State and a first-team All-ACC selection. Maura Horton, the wife of Wolfpack offensive line coach Don Horton, had invited Wilson to speak at St. Timothy’s because the couple’s daughter attended the school and a friend of the family who worked there wanted to be proactive in starting a dialogue about the harmful effects of bullying.

Courtesy of Maura Horton

Russell Wilson, with the Hortons’ daughters, was invited by Maura Horton to speak to schoolchildren about bullying, which he admitted he had been guilty of.

They all figured the amiable Wilson was the perfect guy to stand up and talk about doing the right thing. What they didn’t know was that he also had a confession to make.

Turns out, Wilson had been a bit of a bully himself.

It sounds hard to believe for anyone who has followed Wilson’s ascension to football’s biggest stage. On Sunday, the 5-foot-11, second-year pro will lead the Seattle Seahawks against future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.

But Maura Horton remembers watching all the kids that day at St. Timothy’s as they listened with rapt attention to the young man whose ease and openness allowed him to immediately connect with his audience.

“We were surprised to learn what he said,” Horton told espnW this week. “Russell doesn’t seem like someone who ever could have behaved that way. But because of his honesty, the kids were blown away by him.”

Wilson told the students that when he was younger he would sometimes be mean to his classmates on the playground because he thought that would make the “cool kids” like him more. It took a teacher pulling him aside one day for Wilson to realize there was nothing cool about taunting someone.

“You don’t want to act like that,” the teacher said, reminding Wilson that being good at sports wasn’t a free pass for bad behavior. The message: Sports are fleeting, but words and deeds are permanent.

“Your actions stay with you forever,” Wilson told the students, “so you want to make sure those actions are something you’re proud of in the future.”

The Horton family knows a thing or two about Wilson and meaningful actions. To them, he is a man whose awareness and sensitivity changed their lives.

About a year ago, Maura launched Magna Ready, a business inspired by an interaction between her husband and Wilson after NC State lost a road game during the 2009 season. Don Horton suffers from Parkinson’s disease, although he had not told anyone on the team back then. Because of media obligations, Wilson was one of the last players getting dressed that day, and he noticed that Horton was struggling to button his shirt. The team bus was waiting outside, so the sophomore quarterback stopped what he was doing and, without saying a word, buttoned his coach’s shirt.

When Don arrived home that night, he told his wife what had happened. He confessed his embarrassment and felt distraught that a layer of his independence had been stripped away. But an idea was born: magnetic buttons for dress shirts.

Maura Horton sent Wilson a handwritten thank-you note after hearing about his interaction with her husband. She says she believes Wilson’s awareness in the locker room was heightened by what was happening in his own life as he watched his father’s health decline. Harrison Wilson III died in June 2010 of complications from diabetes. Russell then transferred to Wisconsin after his junior season.

“Most players are focused on themselves after a loss,” Maura Horton said. “It was just a brief moment, but his dad was sick at the time, and I think Russell had a higher sense; he was just one of those guys who got it.”

Last summer, the Hortons and their two daughters visited Wilson at his passing academy in his hometown of Richmond, Va. At one point, the conversation turned to hopes and goals, and Wilson said he wants to win four Super Bowls. Unsure why he picked that number, Maura Horton went home and did a Google search, learning that if Wilson someday wins four titles he will tie Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana as the quarterbacks with the most Super Bowl rings.

During Wednesday’s media availability in New Jersey, Wilson discussed his pursuit of greatness.

“If someone tells me no, I’m going to try to do the best I can to prove them wrong — more for myself than anyone else,” he said. “I’m a self-motivator. I believe that God has given me a sense of leadership to be able to motivate other people, but also myself. I want to be the best one day, and I’m not going to shy away from that. I’ve got a long ways to go, but I think, to be honest with you, God has put me here for a particular reason.”

The way the Hortons see it, Wilson’s legacy is already set.

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Just Being Is Fun

Sometimes we dwell on the changes we have undergone and are scared of what lies ahead but because of these two little ones we opt for a different path.

I never lose sight of the fact that just being is fun. ~ Katharine Hepburn

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Quote is by Katharine Hepburn – Many know her from her amazing breath of work on-screen.  Others know her for having Essential Tremor as well.

Essential Tremor is a neurological condition that causes a rhythmic trembling of the hands, head, voice, legs or trunk. Some even feel an internal shake. It is often confused with Parkinson’s disease although ET is eight times more common and affects an estimated 10 million Americans alone.

A few great resources for ET are  International Essential Tremor Foundation and Tremor Action Network

Another quote by Katharine Hepburn

“Now to squash a rumor. No, I don’t have Parkinson’s. I inherited my shaking head from my grandfather Hepburn. I discovered that whiskey helps stop the shaking. Problem is, if you’re not careful, it stops the rest of you too. My head just shakes, but I promise you, it ain’t gonna fall off!”.

Different Views

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Often there is a struggle trying to communicate what the journey with a life changing diagnosis such as Parkinson’s is like…. to quantify or elucidate. We all experience it differently, through our own unique lens.

I know that we can not control our children’s outlook but only help them navigate.  I have learned however, to not try to define or categorize their concerns, questions or fears but to try to see the light through their ever shifting vantage point.

Some times it’s a close up and it is all you or they can see

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Close ups provide perspective.

and other times the lens is wider.

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Panoramic views provide hope.

Every journey is different.  Every moment, every decision, every prayer.

We all experience things in our own time and our own ways.

Through the pilgrimage you will truly LOVE the ones who may not be able to see all the stones on your path but can still visualize the panoramic view of your trek.

Broad Shoulders

I ask not for a lighter burden, but for broader shoulders.

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I ask not for an easier path, but for stronger feet.

My Path

I ask not for weaker enemies, but a stronger me.

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Let life do with us what it wants, but let us be strong enough to handle it.

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See What Love Can DO!

2013 is closed! On the books and recorded.

Our year is best summed up with the lyrics of an Eric Clapton song

Because

~When you tell your story

~ Make sure your story’s right

~ Every little single word is true

~ See what love can do

I have chronicled a video highlight of our year here.

(watch here) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTXIHvgMOVg

There were many times our world felt like to was falling apart~ but hopefully we will continue to smile and pull through! We won’t let Parkinson’s compromise our happiness.

Thanks to all who helped make 2013 a memorable year!  Change will happen!

When your world, it starts to fall apart Look deep within, within your lonely heart. Do your best my friend, try and understand Its only you, pull yourself through.

When your world, it starts to fall apart
Look deep within, within your lonely heart.
Do your best my friend, try and understand
Its only you, pull yourself through.

See What Love Can Do ~ Eric Clapton

When your world, it starts to fall apart
Look deep within, within your lonely heart
Do your best my friend, try and understand
It’s only you, pull yourself through

When you tell your story
Make sure your story’s right
Every little single word is true

See what love can do
See what love can do

When the words are in the music, the music is the song
The world would be so happy, if we’d all just get along
I want to see it, a smile on every face

So when we tell our story
Make sure that it’s right
Every single word is true

See what love can do
See what love can do
See what love can do

So when you tell your story, honey
Make sure that it’s right
I finally proved the message true

I see what love can do
See what love can do
See what love can do
See what love can do

When we sing the story
Make sure your song is right
Finally proved the message true

See what love can do
Oh, see what love can do
See what love can do
See what love can do

See what love can do
See what love can do
See what love can do
See what love can do

Read more: Eric Clapton – See What Love Can Do Lyrics | MetroLyrics

The Gift That Keeps Giving!

One of the greatest gifts that I am receiving this holiday is pictures and stories of your loved ones in their MagnaReady shirts.  Some of you I have had the pleasure of speaking with directly and I so enjoy putting a face with the name!

Please keep sending.

One face, one shirt at a time – we WILL change the way limited mobility or disability look. We are all in this together!

The pictures of your loved ones in their new shirts are making our year!!

Maura,
Here is a picture of my Dad–Richard Richardson– in his MagnaReady shirt.  It was a big hit and the quote of the day was:

                           “WOW–NO BUTTONS!”


Wish i had video taped it, it was SO well received!

Thanks again Maura!

Lucky

Lucky’s Real Tomatoes

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