Caregiving is a Continuum

I came across an interview this morning that Cokie Roberts granted Today’s Caregiver. It struck a chord and caused introspection.  Here is the portion I have read and re-read.

Question:  You’ve said that caregiving is a continuum.  Can you explain what you mean by that?

Answer: “That is the message I always try to give young women (I do this at women’s college graduations all the time): first of all, don’t think that there is a period of your life when you’re a caregiver…When your children are small.  When your parents are old, whatever it is.  What women do is take care.  That’s what we do.  We do a lot of other stuff, too, but what our mission on this earth is, as far as I’m concerned (and I get a lot of argument on it, but that’s tough) is taking care.  Sometimes, it is taking care of the planet or the library or the cultural center or whatever it is.  But usually, even if that is what a woman’s focus is, she’s also taking care of human beings.  And it’s not necessarily just of your own children when they’re small or when they’re having problems along the way or of your own parents.” – Cokie Roberts

I appreciate visualizing a different view. It is one that I embrace and will reiterate.

Our mission on this earth is taking care.

The root of caregiving is compassion.  Our two compassionate children.

The root of caregiving is compassionate people, at every age.

You can read more of Cokie Roberts writings in We Are Our Mothers’ Daughters

Always By My Side

“I could walk a mile in your shoes, but I already know they’re just as uncomfortable as mine. Let’s walk next to each other instead…”
― Lynda Meyers

Children Living With Parkinson's

Children Living With Parkinson’s

My pleasure to introduce Francis Hulshof, a honored Veteran of the Year!

Francis Hulshof, Veteran of the Year Award, given by the First State Community Bank of Portageville, MO

Francis Hulshof, Veteran of the Year Award, given by the First State Community Bank of Portageville, MO

It has become my goal to change the face of limited mobility.  The only way I know how is to spotlight stories and pictures of others to help change the view.  Here is just one…..

The people we meet along the way are far more heroic and fascinating than ourselves.  I received an everyday order for two MagnaReady shirts.  The sizing varied, one medium and one large.  As old fashioned as it sounds, I picked up the phone to call the customer (Francis’s daughter Karen Masterson) to see if I could help and look who I met!

Below is a few segments from a tribute his son gave when receiving his distinguished honor.

Francis Hulshof  grew up and worked on a farm in Portageville Missouri.

 He was drafted into he army like a lot of other young men on Feb 14th, 1951

Local farmer of small stature and a big heart being recognized as the Veteran of the Year. Francis Hulshof was that man.

Local farmer of small stature and a big heart being recognized as the Veteran of the Year. Francis Hulshof was that man.

He was given the job for driving the jeep for Col. Ralph Melcher. Together they worked as Forward Observers, going to the front line to assess the situation, and return back to their camp with new information to process and use in offensive maneuvers.

Image 4

Francis Hulshof stands in front of his military memorabilia and plaques that
have been presented to him throughout the years. The two in his hands are
this years Veterans Recognition plaque, right hand, and a Thank You Certifi cate from the Republic of Korea. He received this earlier in the year during the 60th Anniversary of the signing of the Korean War Armistice

Some stories heard from veterans are very entertaining but then again serious. It was their way to remember certain stories and react to the magnitude of the situation. I remember one buddy said to the other, “Where were you when we were attacked at Pearl Harbor?” “I was up on the roof with my machine gun, shooting down every zero I could see.” While the other replied, “Oh no you weren’t, you were hiding down under the bunker with your head down, I saw ya.

Image 1

Francis Hulshof and Charlie Haubold chat with
each other at the Veterans Appreciation Breakfast

He was with the 8th field artillery of the 25th Infantry Division, commonly known as Tropic Lightning and he was stationed around Hill 1062 most of his deployment. Corporal Hulshof never said much about the battles.

 Today we thank you!

What an honor and privilege that Francis will be wearing  our  MagnaReady shirt!

Human Factor with Sanjay Gupta – Don’s Words

We are honored to be a part of Sanjay Gupta‘s Human Factor series today. I have blogged many times.  They asked to hear the story through Don’s perspective.  Below are his words.


Don Horton – Father, Coach, Son, Brother, Friend and Parkinson’s Fighter

When I was 48, I was working at Boston College, O-line University, in the pinnacle of my career and raising the family we had waited for so long to start, the last thing I was ready for was being told I had Parkinson’s.  There we were, being warned, that our lives were changing forever.  Maura didn’t blink an eye.  We were both fairly sure that the progression would preclude us.  When we spoke of the disease, we were always positive and stayed strong.  In hindsight, I realize how scared both of us silently were.

My daily activities didn’t change.  I worked, as all coaches do, extremely long days, but looming in the back of my mind was the disease and its’ progression.  To thwart the development I was to stay active, something I had always been; however, I started to notice small changes, and the inability on days to complete the simple tasks I had always done.  That would come and go.  It wasn’t consistent.  One day being able to change a light bulb and the next time I would try, my hands would fail me.  Afraid to admit the decline was beginning, I never mentioned it to Maura, but I know she was watching waiting to step in.

Maura started to notice my good days and bad days, and I would see her instinctively change our plans and schedule.  She and the kids would jump in and help me the same way that my players had each others’ backs on the field.  I fondly remember the loving moments of my two girls helping me in the morning button my shirt, though those moments were bittersweet.  Isn’t it me that is supposed to help them?  My newfound clumsiness was beginning to literally be the elephant in the room, and ironically, the locker room was where it decided to expose itself.  We had just lost a well fought game and had to catch the team plane.  I had spent all of my energy on the field, and there was nothing left my body would give me.  With my hands unable to steady themselves, I couldn’t button my shirt.  A task so simple, mastered at age 5, was now gone.  My weaknesses were completely exposed, and there I was unable to get dressed on my own.  Russell noticed.  He came over and helped me in silence, like Maura or the girls would do.  I didn’t really realize that players had watched this painful process for me.   Players were always a part of our family, but here I realized that now I was a part of theirs.  This moment was the turning point in my life and changed how I was going to address my very existing condition.

My pride was out the window.  The people that I was hoping to make a difference in their lives, were watching it unfold.  Would my players still respect me?  Would I still have a job?  All those fears that I had pushed to the back came flooding to the surface.  I was afraid to tell Maura, afraid that she would think less of me as her husband, less of me as a parent.  Instead they dug in and helped secure my dignity in their own ways.  All the years of preaching perseverance was paying off.

My disease continues to progress despite the fight we rally.  I cannot count the things I’ve lost.  That list is extensive but I prefer to take the lead from another legendary coach, Tom Landry – I’ve learned that something constructive comes from every defeat – and now, I am blessed with the things that I have gained.  My path may have changed course from where I started, but I am grateful that it has not hit a dead-end.

NC State vs North Carolina or Moving Day

Today was the day. A BIG day.  One that coaches plan for, fans live for and here at NCSU, athletic directors fire for . The biggest rivalry opponent in your house- on your turf – ready to accept defeat.  Today NC State (Wolfpack) and UNC (Tar Heels) would face each other in a contentious in state rivalry that has turned into a controversial “battle of the state.  For those of you who are from out of the area, it is similar to the OSU vs Michigan, Alabama vs Auburn or Florida State – Florida feud.  Basically, it’s a game where at the end of 60 minutes winners have bragging rights for 364 days and that is the equivalent to gold around here.

But for us, the first time in many years, we were not apart of it.

No, today as a family, we took part in a much bigger, and in my humble opinion, a more important fight.  One that is on the national level.  The fight for a cure to Parkinson’s.  Moving Day is a walk hosted by the National Parkinson’s Foundation.  I think it a was a little piece of divine intervention for our family that it was held on the same day.  I couldn’t help but draw a few comparisons.

There was still team vs team donning colors and a uniform.


Moving Day – Raleigh


Hadley’s favorite team!

War paint  and tattoos could be spotted everywhere.


Hadley asked- What does this mean anyways.?… The sign of HOPE baby, the sign of HOPE!

The cheerleaders were motivational and spirited!


A senior cheerleading group! Life can’t get better than that!

The proverbial crazy fan spotted!


Spirit was boundless!!

And at the end of the day we left feeling victorious because we ALL had won! Last we heard the tally, funds raised to help the cause was well over 100,000.


We love you dad!

“All we were worried about was one, and it was this one,” Fedora said on being 2-0 against NC State.  We couldn’t agree more!  All we are worried about now is one too, but it’s Parkinson’s and has stakes higher than any rivalry game out there  – because this is real life, not a game.  Besides, five of those winning footballs take up a lot of space on the shelves…

NCSU vs UNC Winning BAll

How many of these does Dave Doeren have?