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Allyson: The River and Me

I am back in the river this summer, three and a half years past my diagnosis of tremor dominant Parkinson’s disease (PD). My first steps into the water were tentative, but soon we were back in harmony with one another. The river is a mirror for me, reflecting strengths, weaknesses and blessings. It breathes new life into me… it challenges my balance, my senses and calls me to overcome fears that creep into my life. The river is constantly changing and moving, sometimes quietly, sometimes powerfully—always captivating and beautiful. I would like to think that I, too, am constantly changing and moving, growing stronger as I do whatever it takes to beat Parkinson’s.

Going to the gym and pushing myself allow me to stand strong against the current in the river and meet its demands. Taking care to eat what is beneficial (for the most part) and listening to my body allow me to welcome what a day of fishing brings. I have a trustworthy, caring guide, Cam, who keeps me steady and chooses carefully where we go. He also pushes me to take some risks, knowing they will bring me great joy and a sense of accomplishment. He doesn’t always settle for quiet water and easy access and remains close by.

A primary cheerleader is my husband. He delights in me fly fishing and says he is proud of me. After 47 years of marriage these new ventures, fly fishing and Parkinson’s, have added a new depth to and appreciation for a life lived together no matter what comes. We don’t know what my journey with Parkinson’s will look like, but we know that two are stronger than one.

For years, my daughter, Annie, worked for the National Parkinson Foundation doing whatever it takes to beat this thing. She continues to encourage me and remind me of all she learned through her time with the Foundation. Annie challenges me to continue to do more and to not let fear and worry dog my journey. I am most blessed as a wife, mother and friend.

Texas is my home and Arlington will host the first Texas event for NPF in November! Let’s do more than we think we can to raise awareness for all aspects of Parkinson’s: research, support services, education and a sense of community. It will take all of us standing strong together to accomplish this and move forward!

Register or learn more about Moving Day® Dallas Fort Worth here.

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