Friday, October 16, 2015

Swim-the-Pacific 4 Parkinson’s Disease

     When I made a personal commitment to take on a travel/exercise challenge for Parkinson’s awareness each year, I imagined selecting sites based on my goal of visiting all the world’s sovereign nations and I envisioned the exercise activities would be a variety of running tasks.

     This summer when I looked at my world map – the natural destination for my next journey seemed to be Africa.  In addition, I had thoughts of incorporating an element of speed into my running, rather than solely focusing on endurance. However, my wife’s legitimate concern of having two family members in Africa for extended periods this year (my daughter is currently studying in Tanzania) and a knee injury that made my immediate running future uncertain, led me to look for a plan B. Thus was born...“Swim-the-Pacific 4 Parkinson’s Disease”. The plan for this venture combines my personal travel/exercise goals with my desire to contribute to Parkinson’s awareness, especially in areas where those affected by Parkinson’s currently have the least opportunities for support.

    The swimming challenge is the most straight forward aspect of the plan.  I will attempt to swim 1 mile in each country. A few years ago when a knee injury forced me to limit my running, I took up swimming to allow me to compete in triathlons.  Although, I’m far from mastering the sport, I’ve developed a slow, steady stoke and I’ve already started training to be able to complete a 1 mile ocean swim. I’ve also begun the task of identifying locals at each stop to guide me to safe swimming spots in order to avoid headlines like…“Parkinson’s advocate attacked by shark” or “Man with Parkinson who spent 4 years on deserted island after being swept away by current during Parkinson’s awareness swim, set to attend World Parkinson Congress 2020”.