Climbing to the Top of Mt. Kilimanjaro

I was infused with a large dose of infinite inspiration Saturday. The Northwest Parkinsons Foundation sponsored an event In Seattle which boosted my appreciation for the power of raw courage and determination. Everyone who attended the event  heard the stories of people with Parkinsons disease and MS who climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro.

A majority of participants made it to the top – but not all. People without any symptoms of Parkinsons or MS experienced just as much of a challenge on the climb to the top as those with the symptoms. The slide shows which were shown of the 6 day climb up the mountain showed smiling faces and determined spirits on each day of the climb – from day one to day six.

You are likely thinking – Right. The people who joined this adventure probably  had a few minor symptoms and were diagnosed last month.  Wrong my friends. One of the participants had Deep Brain Stimulation surgery. All had experience the symptoms of Parkinsons for a number of years.

Two of the climbers were guests on my radio show – Nan Little and John Carlin. Listen to the radio show and you will  hear them talk
about their expectations of the trip. Both summit-ed Mt. Kilimanjaro.

You are likely thinking – that mountain is probably no big deal. Wrong again my friends. Mt. Kilimanjaro is one mile higher than
the highest mountain in Washington state – Mt. Rainer.

There were two members of a medical support team who also participated in the climb up the mountain to provide support to the climbers who had MS or Parkinson’s and their support person. Both members of the medical staff expressed some initial concern before the trip about whether some of the people who signed up would be able to do the climb. Both said that their doubts were
quickly dismissed.

Once on the climb up the mountain, both did not even think about who had symptoms of PD or MS during the climb. Everyone on the trip – those who had symptoms of PD or MS and their support person.

I encouraged the company who organized the climb to do it again next summer.  For my part I promised them that I would get the word out so the trip would fill up with all persons who currently experience the symptoms of PD.

John Carlin’s wife (John currently experiences some symptoms of PD) reflected on her experience which is summarized in her blog. Her insights are an inspiration to anyone and everyone:

If you are like me, you think from time to time you can’t do something, be it exercise or a change in life style or change in diet or …
The desperate thought that creeps in is:

I do not have the balance or stamina or energy or physical strength to fulfill my dreams. 

Become acquainted with what these four amazing people with PD symptoms accomplished last month. They inspire us all to fulfill our passions and dreams. They teach us that with focus and clear intention, anything is possible, absolutely anything.

A transcription of my radio show with John Carlin and Nan Little will be featured in the second edition of Pioneers of Recovery which will be released this fall. I consider it a high privilege and honor to have met each of them.

Robert Rodgers, Ph.D.
Road to Recovery from Parkinsons Disease 

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