Week 16: well-timed inspiration

After the intensity of 20 miles, I was feeling a little beaten up. I spent much of the week with my left leg elevated, popping Advil and icing my foot. While I tried to stay positive, it was nerve-wracking.

Under the guidance of my trainer, Luis, I slashed my activity level. I did a little biking and I took a few days off altogether. It made me anxious to go from running 20 miles to not at all, but I followed orders.

So far, the rest and TLC seems to be helping. I was in New York over the weekend for the Team Fox MVP Awards, so I jumped at the opportunity to do a 4 mile test run through Central Park.

Running in Central Park

The foot held up pretty well, and Central Park was glorious. It was a good start to a great weekend.

The Team Fox MVP Awards are held annually to acknowledge everyone who raised at least $3,500 during the prior year. It’s a magical evening that never fails to inspire. Our family, including Susanna and Dad, scored our invitation because of the Spring Island Pancakes for Parkinson’s event we held over the holidays. All of Merrie’s older grandchildren had helped organize and run the event, so they were invited, too. In addition, my cousin, Robert, raised over $7,000 in 2014 by running the IRONMAN Steelhead 70.3. Team Merrie Miles was well-represented with 9 of us there to celebrate.

Kids at Gotham Hall

The invitation called for “foxy attire,” which the crowd interpreted as semi-formal, with orange and blue predominating.

Gotham Hall

Gotham Hall was originally the Greenwich Savings Bank, built in 1924 in Roman style as a “temple to thrift.” It’s currently used as an special events venue, and Team Fox filled it up on Friday with over 400 fundraisers.

We were lucky enough to be seated up front, and the kids enjoyed filling out speech balloons to express their thoughts about the evening.

Sue and Boone

Ella -- Wow

The evening was the most inspiring yet. In 2014, Team Fox members raised $7 million to support Parkinson’s research, with 3 fundraising groups reaching lifetime totals of $1 million each. In 2012, Team Merrie Miles was acknowledged as one of the top 10 fundraising teams with just over $80,000 raised. This year, all of the top 11 fundraisers achieved well over $100,000, with the top 3 raising more than $250,000 each.

The speakers were unbelievable. Debi Brooks, co-founder of the MJFF, rocked another signature gorgeous orange dress and continued to impress us with her presence and smarts. Sam Fox (no relation to Michael), shared his plans to bike across the US and hike up each state’s tallest peak to raise $1 million in the “Tour de Fox.” Michael himself was funny and self-depreciating, and he conveyed the urgency and optimism he’s known for. Chris Woods, the co-founder of the New England Parkinson’s Ride, shared the story of how he and his family created what is now one of Team Fox’s $1 million lifetime events. Openly emotional and completely authentic, Chris took us from the despair he felt when diagnosed at 41 with young-onset PD to the overwhelming pride and hope he felt as he watched his family and friends rally around him to help raise funds for Team Fox.

During the dinner, the kids managed to be mature beyond their years, but afterwards, they were ready to cut a little loose.

 Fun cousins at MJFF MVP

 Watt and I felt the same this week when we saw the incredible response we’d received on the fundraising front. With 155 donors, we are now up to $34,645! This surpasses our original goal and blows our minds. It’s hard to express how that makes us feel. We are humbled, inspired, a little intimidated, and excited for what’s to come. Thank you so much.

If you’d like to follow our fundraising progress, check out our team fundraising page

Next week: the final countdown.

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