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“Just don’t give up on me, ok?”

This Rock Steady thing has been an interesting journey. Many people have said “its a really wonderful thing you’re doing.”, “You are really doing something good for those people…”I humbly nod in agreement but internally think about the people I’m working with.

There are those who have has PD for a few months and those who have had it for decades. In that time there have been all levels of life stress and change. Spouses have left or passed on. Jobs have ended by choice or not. children have grown, graduated, married, and had their own children. Things that should be considered happy and joyous times carry a stress that most cannot understand. What if i can’t walk down the aisle without freezing or falling? What if i can’t care for my grandchild if we are asked to babysit. How will I live alone with this disease?

When i speak to people about the program there is immediate hope! You can see it in their eyes. You can hear it in their voice. You can see it in their posture. They breathe a sigh of relief that someone out there thinks its possible that they can regain strength and balance and a better quality of life. Up till now there hasn’t been much hope given. I’m sure it’s not intentional. I think its rather a disease that lacks anything “for sure” or “typical”. So they do what they can. The best that they can. When they go through their assessment process, i can see the near desperation to perform well. They ask with hesitation if I think they can be a part of the program. Hope is restored when I insist that anyone can do this program.

This week i had several newbies. The workouts were hard. Through sweat drips off his nose, deep heaving breaths, and muscles tremoring with effort, a newbie pleaded with me “Just PLEASE don’t give up on me, I’m working so hard.” I realized in that moment that they don’t yet know the immense strength, courage, trust, and hope that they carry with them everyday.

In all of the assessments I’ve done- though the stories are weaved with deep hurt and sense of loss in the life they thought they would have, there has never been a word of self pity. They are the one’s doing wonderful things, good things. They are fighters. They are amazing.