Tuesday, September 24, 2013

To my family and friends - this post will probably contain some information about me that you did not know, so please don’t hesitate to contact me with questions/concerns.  To those I have not met – please understand that the following provides just a small snapshot of my very fortunate life.  To all - I look forward to sharing my story and this journey with all of you.  
I am currently a physician in the Air Force.  Three years ago, on 24 September 2010, I became a physician in the Air Force with Parkinson’s Disease.  Although the typical, subtle symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease began well before that date and the pathologic process that leads to the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease certainly started long before that date – 24 September 2010 was the day I first took medications to establish the diagnosis, and the last day that I did not take medications to treat the symptoms.  Therefore, 24 September 2010 is the day that I became one of the estimated 7-10 million people world-wide with Parkinson’s Disease.
This disease that threatens my two favorite hobbies, sports and travel, has now given me a cause toward which to apply my experience and interest in medicine and humanitarian relief.  As I enter the 4th year since starting treatment for Parkinson’s Disease at the age of 44, I am planning a project to raise awareness and funding for Parkinson’s Disease research titled, “Run-the-World 4 Parkinson’s Disease”.   During the challenge, I will attempt to run 4 miles in 44 countries in 4 weeks/4 days, during the Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month of April, with a start date of 4/4/14.
The idea for this project was a merger of two trains of thoughts - plans to do some traveling around the time of my retirement from the Air Force and a desire to get involved in Parkinson’s Disease awareness.  As the concept developed in mind, it took me some time before I considered telling my wife, Lila, and even longer before I told any other family members or friends and thus became committed to the pursuing the project.  Over the past 3 months, my small personal challenge has led to Team Fox enrollment, this blog, a Facebook page, t-shirts, business cards and a bunch of airline reservations and now there is clearly no turning back.
In the coming months, I hope to work with those of you that are interested to develop running courses, share travel experiences and recommendations, learn more about Parkinson’s Disease and promote Parkinson’s Disease awareness and research funding.  I am definitely not an expert writer and not particular tech savvy - it is a small wonder I have made it this far in creating a blog - so I imaging relying heavily on our interactions and your feedback to make the most of this blog and the project as a whole.  As I stated in my profile, I have traveled to over 80 countries and competed in many road races and triathlons over the years and I am excited about this challenge.  However, I am a bit anxious about my itinerary and I greatly appreciate those that will follow me as the 444 Parkinson's Traveler and provide advice and support.
Thanks, Mark


  1. I look forward to reading about your successful endeavor and to supporting such a fantastic cause.

  2. What an amazing journey! My grandfather had Parkinson Disease so hits close to home for me. I admire your strength and courage and look forward to watching you fight for a great cause and raise awareness with something that effects so many people.

  3. God Speed!! Keep us up to date!! By April, I should be able to run 4 miles myself ...I pledge to run 4 miles 4 times a month with you..well 'cause Lila knows I'm not much of a runner. Looking forward to more updates!!

  4. Thanks for your wonderful comments. It has been surprising to hear the number of people with connections to Parkinson's Disease and great to hear the ways in which our friends and family will be sharing in my journey.

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