Why This Walk Matters

Come rain or shine, the 27th Annual Walkathon for the American Parkinson’s Disease Association (APDA) Massachusetts Chapter is Sunday, June 9th.  It’s guaranteed to be a day that will make a difference in the lives of those living with Parkinson’s disease.

The total walk is three miles, and friends and family are welcome to walk any part of this or participate in a lot of other activities.

This walk has become an annual tradition in our family, and we would like to tell you why this event matters to us as daughters, and, as 2Sisters Senior Living Advisors.

A picture of our Dad, and senior living guru, Mark Tobin

Our Dad, Mark Tobin, has had Parkinson’s for six years. When he was diagnosed we never really talked about the long-term implications of this disease, and we certainly never talked about the future of our Dad’s health in terms of its impact on his lifestyle and his ability to manage the tasks of daily living.

 

Even though he had become a person living with Parkinson’s Disease, we still considered our Dad indestructible and invincible. So upon hearing the news, the family accentuated the positive, rallied around the promising news of breakthroughs in research and medicine, and essentially put on a game face and marched forward.

Now, six years have passed, and in the last several months Parkinson’s Disease has taken a dramatic toll on our father.

He is no longer able to maintain the lifestyle he desires and this past month underwent Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS).  This seems to be having a positive effect and many of his Parkinsonian symptoms have subsided, allowing him to once again return to work, drive a car, socialize with his friends, and crawl on the floor with his granddaughter.

So as Mark Tobin’s daughters, this Annual Walkathon has become extremely personal, poignant, and important to us for two reasons.

The first is that the money raised at these events has funded the research that leads to procedures like DBS, which is increasing our dad’s quality of life significantly.

The second reason is that as two entrepreneurs whose mission is helping seniors, this walk is our important connection to the Parkinson’s community.

Since we started 2Sisters Senior Living Advisors in Spring 2010, we have worked with several clients who have had Parkinson’s. Because of our personal experiences, we have been able to connect with them, relate to their anxieties around the diagnosis, and understand the effect it can have on the whole family.

As 2Sisters we have had the privilege to speak to local Parkinson’s support groups on the topics of choosing Independent, Assisted Living and Memory Care living options, and we are grateful for the opportunity to share our knowledge and experiences on these topics from our unique perspective.

While we wish our Dad was not living with this challenging disease, his struggles have made us more aware of the benefit of planning ahead to anticipate perceived needs. We hope by giving transparency to Mark Tobin’s fight, in some way we will be fighting for everyone with Parkinson’s on June 9th, and every day.

 

Michelle and Alyson

 

For more information on the Walk, or to donate, please visit and sign up on http://apdaparkinson.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.team&teamID=5877

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