Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Run-the-Caribbean 4 Parkinson's, version 2.0

       When I returned home from the Caribbean last month, my hope was to make a quick return to continue my travels, running and efforts to raise Parkinson’s Awareness throughout the region. Although I could not coordinate to resume my itinerary where I left off, I am happy to say that I now have a plan to return in June.
        While I was only in the Caribbean for a week in March, I was very fortunate to make some special contacts in Barbados and witness what felt like the birth of Parkinson’s Awareness in the country with the Barbados Parkinson’s Awareness Walk and the establishment of a Parkinson’s support group. This experience gave me a new perspective on the needs of those affected by Parkinson’s in the Caribbean and an inner circle of people to help guide my endeavor to do a small part to advance their cause.
    My schedule for Run-the-Caribbean, version 2.0 will be a short, one-week long whirl-wind tour through six of the island nations that I have not visited in the past. The running will be more challenging than my prior journeys, as I will be attempting to run across 5 islands in 5 days – the current projected running routes will involve over 50 miles of running in the 5 days.
       Although, my time will be limited – my focus will continue to be raising Parkinson’s Awareness. Within the islands my goal is to use local media to spread the word about Parkinson’s Disease and attempt to establish local contacts that may be willing to participate in future events. At the same time, I hope my travels through the Caribbean will continue to grow a social media following and in particular spread the word about the next World Parkinson’s Congress, which is now just a little over a year away.
       Finally, I have a funny story to tell, or maybe “confess” about the funding of my travels. Living in Vegas, there are some day-to-day activities and experiences that are unique to residing in the gambling capital of the world. One those is my running route. A few months ago, I discover a couple contests at a casino that is just 2 miles from my house. Both involve swiping a membership card to show that you were at the casino that day and then receiving entries into drawings. One is a drawing that occurs at the end of each month at the casino. The other is a contest for those living in the Las Vegas-area in which the “Jackpot Prize Patrol” arrives at your home to deliver your winnings. After finding out about these contests, I would occasionally run a route that would allow me to stop by the casino and enter the contests. A couple weeks ago I was shocked to get a call from the Jackpot Prize Patrol, letting me know that I had won $500 and that they would be coming to my house to film them awarding the prize to me. Thinking that this was not only a way to pay for some of my Caribbean travel costs, but also an added opportunity to spread the word about Parkinson’s Awareness - I donned my Run-the-Caribbean “uniform” for the photo op. Hopefully my appearance on local television advertisements for the casino’s contest will a gain little extra exposure for my upcoming adventure.  However, I am now wondering how this will affect my status as an “amateur” runner.

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