Move for Mobility

Today’s guest post is from Amber, one of my closest friends and one I’ve mentioned more than a few times here on Beth’s Journey. She is the one who I scheduled “healthy dates” with when I first started to lose weight where we would go for a run or a swim and then do healthy dinner together, and we actually have one of those dates tonight! She has always been one of my fitness inspirations, and I hope you enjoy what she has to share with you all today!

My mom has always been my biggest inspiration for health and fitness. Some of my earliest memories of my mom include her coming back from runs early in the morning, sweaty and energetically preparing breakfast. She started me in athletic activities from a very young age, carting me from dance lessons to gymnastics, and later to swim team and soccer practice. In fact, there is not a time I can remember her not participating in some sort of physical activity — which is why it was particularly alarming that winter in 2002 when, while standing on a ski slope coaching my high school ski team, she noticed an issue with her right leg. She was having trouble turning in her skis… something she had been doing with ease for decades.

Several months and many opinions later we received a frightening diagnosis. My mom had Parkinson’s Disease at the early age of 46. It is no surprise that she has faced many challenges since then. Physical limitations, sure. But worse have been the emotional stresses and feelings of loss that come from not being able to do the things you really love to do.

I have chosen to deal with the emotions my own way — by continuing to do the things WE love to do in honor of my amazing mother. I have gained the wisdom not to take these abilities for granted, understanding now that I might not have them forever. I think of her often when I’ve hit a "wall" on a run, or just don’t feel like trying in yoga. It allows me to dig deep and gives me an innate sense of strength and helps me finish strong.

This came in particularly handy while running my first half marathon in October 2010. At the time I had never run more than 10 miles, and during training I only reached 8. You can imagine the "wall" was pretty intense — made worse by the fact that I had chosen the hardest course imaginable in the hills of West Virginia. I’m not sure I would have finished if not for the inspiration and motivation I gained while thinking of my Mom at mile 10, 11, and 12. I finished alright… and as my 3 family members cheered me on I had a great sense of accomplishment. But as the runner’s high passed and the soreness set in, I remember wishing I had truly run the race in her honor. Perhaps raising money for Parkinson’s… or at the very least had worn a t-shirt with her name on it.

It was then I made up my mind. I had to do something for the cause. However I felt a bit overwhelmed, not knowing exactly where to start. Should I organize a team for a run? Or organize a race? Do I need to start a non-profit? Who do I donate the money to? Then one day while running a small race with Beth last May I met John Brathwaite with the DC Running Club, and he proved to be an incredible resource. We decided to partner and begin planning a Run for Parkinson’s. Now the dream is coming into fruition, and the event is just over a month away! Here are the details:

    • Move4Mobility: Run for Parkinson’s
    • April 14, 2012
    • Hains Point, Washington DC
    • 8AM Start Time
    • 5K & 5 Miler – Run, walk (skip, jump… however you want to move it!)

My mom will be there on April 14th — I hope you can join us too! Register and donate at

What do you do to give back to causes that are close to your heart?

8 Comments on Move for Mobility

  1. Nora
    March 15, 2012 at 10:10 am (9 years ago)

    My dad has been in a wheelchair since my mom was pregnant with me. My whole life, he always participated in road races including 50 + marathons, and I would always run the kid run or 5k with him. As I got older, I stopped running races and now my dad is no longer to wheel in races, so this summer, I registered for my first half-marathon, because I still CAN run. I’m not going to choose not to anymore. I’m using my body – and losing weight and running to make it healthy while I still can.

  2. Kelly
    March 15, 2012 at 12:24 pm (9 years ago)

    Great post. A couple things came to mind:
    1) Good for you for putting your mind to something (CREATING a race!) and doing it. How exciting that it’s just a month away and that your mom will be in attendance. I know she must be soooooo proud!!!
    2) I want to inspire my own daughter the way your momma inspired you, towards a happy healthy life. LOVE that!!

  3. Emily
    March 15, 2012 at 12:39 pm (9 years ago)

    my uncle passed away suddenly from complications from diabetes last december so that was my inspiration to become more active. My someday goal is to do a century ride with tour de cure (diabetes charity) in his honor

  4. Laura
    March 15, 2012 at 12:52 pm (9 years ago)

    Thanks for sharing! I’m going to check my schedule and see if I can do the 5k. My grandfather had Parkinson’s and it was so awful to watch him deteriorate! I’d love to give back in this way. My birthday is April 18th so maybe I can gather some friends to run as a “gift” to me? 😉

  5. Amber
    March 15, 2012 at 1:38 pm (9 years ago)

    Thanks for the post, Beth — and to readers for their comments and support. I look forward to meeting and seeing you all there on the 14TH!

  6. Hilary @ The Big Weight
    March 26, 2012 at 3:47 pm (8 years ago)

    Dang it! My grandmother had Parkinson’s and I would have loved to participate in this one.. but I’m doing the MS Walk that same morning as well. I love doing 5K’s (I’m a walker though!) and for the past two years I’ve participated in the March for Babies and the Great Strides (benefiting Cystic Fibrosis). This is my first year participating in the MS Walk and I’m looking forward to it. I hope you do the Parkinson’s one again next year!

  7. Emmie
    April 19, 2012 at 8:39 pm (8 years ago)

    I’m just seeing this post, so apologies this is late. My mom was diagnosed with Parkinson’s when she was about 42. She died 5 years ago at the age of 50. I’ve done individual races to raise money for local Parkinson’s Disease research trials and also the Michael J. Fox foundation and am so excited to see you’ve organized your own race. I was thinking of doing something similar, so I may reach out to you, Amber.

    Here’s my mom’s story:


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