When I was asked to return to Shake Rattle & Roll this past August, I expected to see, hear, and feel exactly what I felt at last year’s fundraiser event. However, what I came away with changed me in ways that words cannot really describe. While true that I strengthened old friendships, I also forged new bonds that will remain with me for all of my life.
It began with my late night arrival at the hotel in Iowa where I met with Chad (“Beads”) and Kristeen (“Teen”) Pierson who, along with the Lost Cause Motorcycle Club, started the SRR Fundraiser event due to Beads’ diagnosis of YOPD five years ago. Also at the hotel was John Krumbholtz (Krummy), the president of the Iowa Chapter of the APDA.
We had decided to meet at the hotel because early the following morning, Beads and Krummy were going to broadcast live on the local morning news. I immediately saw a kindred spirit in Krummy because he also has PD. We stayed up later than we should have catching up on each others’ lives, laughing together, and inviting to our table two other guests who had overheard our conversation and wanted to join in.
The following morning we arrived at the KCWI studio and were greeted with coffee, donuts, bagels, and crew members eager to learn more about what it’s like to live with Parkinson’s disease. It was early, but it was time for the stars to shine. Beads and Krummy were on air, talking about Lost Cause’s role in Iowa’s work to back APDA’s efforts to “ease the burden and find a cure.” The interview was flawless.
After it was over, we planned to meet at the registration area. Soon, I met up with old friends and discovered new ones. As I was passing out medical bracelets provided to me by the AZ Chapter of the APDA, I was greeted by a sea of people and realized the magnitude of the gathering as I heard the thunderous arrival of even more motorcycles. As far as the eye could see were Harley Davidson’s as waves of riders came together.
This year’s event attracted more than 250 motorcycles and over 400 people who came together for the same reason. Each year, SRR joins more people and raises more money than the previous year. This year was no exception, as it had the highest attendance and rose over $40,000 in a single day. This was a testimony to the hope, belief and faith shared by all those who came.
The activities of SR&R included riders registering, buying various merchandise, and riding to a nearby town and then back to the starting point for events such as live music, silent auctions, food, games, and shared stories. For the second year in a row, I was thrilled to be asked to participate as a speaker and performer. I was also honored to speak with two groups and share my experiences as a person with Parkinson’s. I had the pleasure of meeting the Board members for the Iowa Chapter of the APDA who attended in support of the event.
The most significant moments for me were not those that I experienced from the stage. Instead, they were the moments that occurred while I was speaking, and more importantly, listening, to other people in attendance. It struck me that not only did we share a common goal of raising awareness and funds for Parkinson’s research; we also shared a sense of hope not found in many people. We shared faith that one day there would no longer be a need for this event as a cure for Parkinson’s would be found. We shared a common love with our brothers and sisters who are all affected by Parkinson’s disease.
This year I shared about hope and the power to believe. Even though I myself have tremors, slurred speech, and difficulties walking, I have come to believe in the abilities that I have rather than those I do not. It has been said that faith can move mountains. The power of this faith and the human spirit amazed me again this year. Last year, I was moved to places within myself I never thought I could go. This year, I went even deeper within my heart and discovered a renewed strength, greater courage, stronger compassion and an even larger sense of love for all those affected by Parkinson’s. Shake, Rattle and Roll 2013 strengthened my own belief that there are, indeed, no mountains.
By Mick Beaman