Carl & Laurel Milentz
Ms. Wanda Henry
Thomas Family (Staci, Diane & Kurt)
Gayle & Susan Gertson
Rebekah Keller & Zack Stovall
Maria & Patrick Quinn
The Thomas Family
Marsha Kallina Bouldin
Mark & MB
Aarti & Mark Bowman
Tony and Tyler Six
Melody & Michael Grigar
Willie and Glenda Moore
Karina Van Sickle
Hello Family and Friends who are like family.
As you all know my Dad, Kurt Thomas was diagnosed with PD-Parkinson's Disease about two years ago. So far this experience has taught me that you find out what a person's true character is made of by how they face obstacles and the path they take to over come them.
Let's start from the beginning. About three years ago my Dad started developing a tremor in his right hand. At first, no one thought anything of it. In fact, my Dad asked his friend who was a doctor if there was something wrong with him and he replied "You're fine, you just have the Thomas Family shakes." Everyone who knows my Dad, knows that he is one of the most athletic, competitive and health food conscious people you will ever meet--he was eating organic before organic was cool. So, it makes sense that no one thought much of his tremors. That’s what makes PD unique; we have learned over the past few years that PD can affect the healthiest of people. One way PD can develop is from over exposure to toxic chemicals. The doctors believe my dad’s PD came from working in the Eagle Lake rice fields. From an early age he was exposed to many forms of chemicals from fertilizer to pesticides, etc. In fact, farmers are one of the largest groups of people living with PD.
To be honest the next part of the story remains a mystery to me. Since I was living in Memphis my parents never shared with me the process of going to various doctors and finding out the diagnosis of PD. In fact, they knew for about 6 months before they finally told me. I will never forget it, I was driving to yoga and was going on and on about how hard my day was and my Dad, just as any father would do consoled me and said it would get better. Later in the conversation, right as I was about to get off the phone, my Dad said, "Oh by the way, I have Parkinson's but don't worry I am fine. Have fun at yoga. Love you."
This is another example of character; my dad wasn’t worried about having PD and didn’t want anyone else to be concerned either. He believes there is nothing to worry about because he knows GOD will be with him in this journey.
What makes my dad and Darren (our Fearless Team’s other Captain) remarkable, is ever since they found out PD’s progression is slowed by exercise they have both taken up exercising even more than they already did. Both Darren and my dad have committed themselves to working out everyday for at least an hour to an hour and a half, with no exceptions. Because of this and moderate medication, many people do not even know they have PD.
My dad is also part of the very important Michael J. Fox, Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative. He wouldn’t want anyone to know, but my mother has shared with me, how brave it is of him to be a part of the study. It means traveling several times a year to Houston and going through hours of MRI’s, spinal taps and blood tests, to gather data for the biomarker study. Despite all these procedures he never complains because he knows it is helping develop these crucial biomarkers that will be used to diagnose, treat and hopefully cure PD.
Thank you for reading our story, if you find it in your heart to give a little to help find a cure and help my Dad and the other 1 million+ Americans with Parkinson’s it would be much appreciated by my family and the entire PD community.
Love, Staci Rae Thomas
P.S. Kurt, Diane and Staci will be participating in the Parkinson’s National Moving Day fundraising walk in Miami on October 6, 2013. Sadly, there isn’t a Texas Parkinson’s event, but we welcome you to join us for Moving Day in Miami!