July 2010 - Daddy and his Dopamines

Fearful, sad, hopeless.  Those are some of the seemingly endless emotions my family felt when we found out my father, Timothy Potter, was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s disease.  However, our attitudes changed when we found out about the vast network of support surrounding this disease, especially the extraordinary efforts of the Parkinson’s Unity Walk.  My name is Kimberly Potter, and I would like to share “Daddy and his Dopamine’s” fledging journey to the 2010 PUW.

My dad, Tim, chose not to cause worry nor encumbrance for his children and family, and kept to himself and my mother that he had Parkinson’s up until 2 years ago, when he expressed this sad revelation to us.  Even though he was actually diagnosed 7 years ago, he had the typical precursors of PD many years prior to.  But these particular features were not accurately pinpointed right away.   That was until a movement specialist, at Massachusetts General Hospital, was able to identify and confirm the true cause of his symptoms, Young Onset Parkinson’s disease.  This then became a drastic change for my father because he went from owning his own business and working everyday to now feeling fatigued, rigidity and tremorous, among other symptoms, doing simple household chores, like getting the mail. 

Our immediate family, Ginny (mom), Steph (sister), TJ (brother) and myself, chose not to be idly beset by PD and decided to start the “Daddy and his Dopamine’s” Parkinson’s Unity Walk Team.   We decided on this name over “Tim’s Tremor’s” because it is just not the tremors, that people always think of that come with Parkinson’s, it is so much more.  That is why we decided on “Daddy and his Dopamine’s” because he is lacking these particular neurotransmitters, and we wanted our daddy to get all of the support he could get, thus our team figuratively became his dopamines.  

The response to our efforts were humbling, to say the least.  We no longer felt alone.  Families, friends, co-workers, and even strangers contributed not only financial support, but emotional and inspirational motivation as well.

Through our family’s efforts, we were able to raise $10,755 for the PUW.  Resourceful and innovative thinking led to the creating of a benefit concert in Boston headlined by a U2 cover band “Joshua Tree” and the local band Clarias that raised over $1,000 for our team.

The walk was truly an emotional roller coaster.  However, participating in the walk with people in such buoyant moods was uplifting and encouraging that we can all get through this.  We met new friends, and strengthened others.  The PUW certainly causes one to ruminate and continue a search for ways to help.

Being our first PUW, we were excited to hear that out of 500 plus teams, “Daddy & His Dopamine’s” were 24th in fundraising efforts.  We are confident a cure will be found for PD & other related neurological disorders, helping improve the quality of life of everyone affected by Parkinson's.

Thanks to the PUW and its dedication to find a cure; emboldened, strong and hopeful are now the words that fill my family’s hearts.