What follows isÂ truly an amazing story about the power ofÂ family systems and the connection between a father and son.Â It is a testament to the truth thatÂ Parkinson’sÂ canÂ inspire and motivateÂ in ways that we could have never imagined or anticipated.Â Â
Jeff Meyers wrote the following story to me in an e mail lastÂ week.Â He gave me permission to share it with everyone.Â Get ready to be inspired.Â I was.Â Â
What’s unique about my story is that my father divorced my mother when I was a very young child and I never saw or heard from him again. I knew nothing about the man.
At age 54 I decided that I wanted to do some volunteering and, being quite familiar with with computers, html, and content editing and writing, I came across an opportunity at the Parkinson’s disease Association of San Diego to update and maintain their website. I continued building the site for 2 years, at which time the executive director offered me a full-time position. Up until I came on the scene, their website had generated a mere $1421 in income. Since being hired 4 years ago, the pdasd.org site, the Tulip Tribute Funds site, and our Annual 5K Parkinson’s Walk & Fun Run site (both of which I created) have generated over $300,000 in income.
I also video taped our Parkinson’s educational seminars and, while viewing a live presentation through the video camera, I noticed that 2 of the presenters made reference to a Dr. Harold Russell Meyers, M.D. during their presentations. After the event I followed up with the two neurosurgeons, one of whom was very familiar with my father’s work. I did some research online and that’s how I found out who my dad was. My father did the pioneering work in the development of Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery (DBS).Â There was never any mention of him in our family all the years while I was growing up.
Now, isn’t that an incredible story! Who would ever have imagined that I would be “connected” to Parkinson’s–and my father–through this series of events? Life…what a mystery!
When I’d finished the Tulip Tribute Funds website, I told my only sister, who I had just recently heard from in over 40 years since the breakup of the family (her choice) and she revealed to me that she was the only child who maintained any contact with my dad in all the years of separation. Interestingly, she is the only child who ever finished college; in fact she earned 2 doctorates at McGill University in Montreal. She was the one who added the testimonial about Dr. Meyers on the Tulip Tribute Funds site. Hopefully, he’s beaming with pride from somewhere “above.”
It seems that my dad had received 32 honorary doctorate degrees, was a Seniors Olympics Champion sprinter through the age of 84, hung out with the likes of Alan Watts, Buckminster Fuller, S.I. Hayakawa, Alfred Korzybski and many other “high-level” intellectuals of his time. He had achieved many other professional accomplishments throughout his life, but being a father to his 6 children was not one of them. I am very blessed because I have a wonderful son who is so dear to my heart, and we are “best of buds” as the saying goes. Well, such are the possible “hands” one is dealt in life!
At any rate, here is where we are today…all of us together…fighting the “good fight” to find a cure for PD! I absolutely love the people I’m working with, and to add you to the mix…what a blessing!
Robert Rodgers, Ph.D.