CHAMPs > Parkinson's CHAMP
It was the summer of 2005 when I received the news. My dad, Carl Brownscheidle, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. My siblings, Mom and I were all shocked, and didn’t know what to expect. How can this happen? Why did this happen? He’s only 57 years old! What happens next?
I can only imagine how my Dad must have felt when he heard his diagnosis. Remarkably, his spirit was immensely positive. He managed to smile every day, appreciate the little things in life, make others laugh with his tall tales, and enjoy time with family and friends. He continued to work in sales for as long as he could, but when the disease rapidly progressed, he retired early. He spent this time reading books, enjoying the tranquility of the outdoors, which had always been a peaceful place for him, and traveling with my mom throughout New England, exploring small towns and staying at quaint bed and breakfasts.
In the few months before he died on December 15, 2007, he visited with every member of the family and spent time with many of his closest friends. I have always wondered if he knew the end was drawing near and if this was his way of providing all his loved ones with some form of closure. His death at the age of 59 was far too soon, and my world shattered.
In my time of grief, I experienced moments of true clarity. One of those crystal-clear revelations was that I must do something to carry on my father’s legacy and make a difference to help others. It took me a little time to find the Parkinson’s Unity Walk, but once I did, I’ve remained committed to leading Team Brownscheidle for the past 10 years.
In 2014, I married the love of my life. Sadly, my dad was not there to walk me down the aisle, but I wanted some way to honor him on our wedding day. I worked with the PUW staff to create beautiful tent cards for each dinner table, letting our guests know that in lieu of wedding favors, a donation was made to the Parkinson’s Unity Walk.
In 2018, we expanded Team Brownscheidle to include our 11-month-old daughter, to share with her the power of helping others and to show her that you, too, can “Be the Difference”. This turned into our team slogan, printed on our bright red shirts as a reminder of why we continue to do this each year. Those words represent a big part of my dad, who believed in living a life of service to others. I am confident that my dad is proud of the efforts we’ve made over these past years to raise funds for Parkinson’s research and to help those living with Parkinson’s, as well as their families and caregivers.
Team Captain, Team Brownscheidle
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