Translator

Parker’s Climb – For The Cure – New Year’s 2012

One year ago on the last evening of 2010, the Parker’s Climb Team greeted the arrival of 2011 with a sense of anticipation and excitement as another clock counted down the days until we would climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.

I can still recall the feeling that July 2011 would never arrive when we launched our year-long fundraiser in July of 2010. When we rang in 2011 we were still a long way from Tanzania and that big mountain, but it certainly was a vivid reminder that time does not stand still. The day did arrive, and on July 4, 2011, Geoff and I and four members of the Parker family started on a journey of a life time.

We set out to reach the Kibo Summit at 19,340 feet and we did it! All six of us reached our goal on July 10, 2011, which just happened to be Geoff’s 57th birthday. In reality we went well beyond our personal goals as we watched Geoff do this climb more than five years into his diagnosis with Parkinson’s disease. In fact, he really aced this climb never wavering for even a second. I will forever remember him taking my hand and leading me to the summit sign when I could barely see it, and struggled for each and every breath. He was breathing with such ease, and smiling endlessly, and still talking as if he was just taking a casual stroll. Amazing – really incredible! :)

My family members found strength also in seizing my goal as they graciously set aside a year of their lives to help educate people while raising awareness and funding for Parkinson’s disease research to benefit the Michael J. Fox Foundation. I can never repay them for their continual encouragement before, during and after our climb. Over the course of this year, we all got so much more than we ever dreamed possible from our quest. It is a feeling of accomplishment that I am convinced will last a life time – no matter what other challenges life has to offer.

Geoffrey and I have long believed (as I witness almost daily) that the effects of Parkinson’s disease can be slowed when one adopts an exercise regimen to keep all the parts moving with more ease and control. Geoff continues to do well, and his tenacity to remain fit serves as encouragement for me to try to adopt a healthy lifestyle as well. When I receive emails even today from people who have found the strength to start exercising because of Geoff’s story, I realize that Parker’s Climb has touched lives of people that I have not even met; this was one of our primary goals, and I am grateful!

2011 was a challenging year for many of my friends. Our wish is that 2012 will be a more kind and gentle year. Geoff and I, in the spirit of adventure have made a lot of changes in our lives over this year. We decided not to let the moss grow beneath our feet and made a significant move – life really is a bit of a blank canvas as we stand with brushes in hand ready to paint the future. There is something exciting when you are creating a bit of mystery in life! Right?

When I reflect back on the past year, I recognize that my strength comes from the love and encouragement that I received from friends and family. When I learned that my Mom had an illness that even I could not fix, I wondered how I would survive. If not for the love and kindness from friends (and you all know who you are), I might still be searching for my voice. One day by the grace of God I realized I needed to become an advocate against her disorder rather than a victim. Then it all seemed to make more sense.

Life really is like climbing a mountain – some events feel like bunny hills and some take every ounce of stamnia that we have; but in the end the world looks quite different looking from the top down. Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro left me with a feeling that I can do anything if I work hard enough to get there.

Geoff and I lost a dear friend this year when Wayne was called to live with the angels quite unexpectably in September. There are many days that I still wait for that call to hear him say “did you miss me?” He has no idea how much we miss him, and ringing in the New Year without him, as we had in the past just didn’t feel right. Our lives were more rich because of knowing you Wayne.

On this first day of the New Year, I count my blessings for the many people we met over our year long fundraiser. We have so much work left to do in finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Parker’s Climb will live on well beyond Mt. Kilimanjao! Yes that majestic mountain was just fuel under our feet and 2012 promises more work and dedication from Team Parker!

Happy New Year from the entire Parker’s Climb family! For those of you who followed our climb in 2011, and those of you who donated to the Michael J. Fox Foundation on our behalf, I carried you in my heart up that mountain. It was your words that played over and over in my head on that long journey, and that continue to inspire me today.

May the scientist and researchers continue their good works to find our cures – may the millions of caregivers across the world find strength to make it through each day, and for those who have already been diagnosed with these unrelenting brain disorders, – We will continue to educate and fight these battles until the end. We will not stop – we cannot stop for there is much left to do in this fight.

Happy New Year and Much Love!
Geoff & Pam / George & Larri / George IV & Maddie

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2nd Swing For A Cure – National Parkinson’s Foundation Tournament

There are two things that Geoff is very serious about – playing golf and being involved in any event that is raising funds to help fund the cure for Parkinson’s disease. Geoff was invited to play in the 2nd Swing For A Cure!- This Charity Golf Tournament is sponsored by the National Parkinson’s Foundation and Eric Kaplin, who hosts this event for a very special man, his father.

From Eric Kaplin: My father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease when I was five years old. Although I was naive to what this meant, it did not take long before I grew frustrated with the disease and what it was doing to my father.

Out of these frustrations, I turned to golf. Golf became my catharsis and best friend. It is a game that has taught me humility and love, passion and patience; lessons I had to learn to be able to cope at home. It is my wish, that through this game I love, I can give back to a man I love.

This Second Annual Parkinson’s Charity Golf Tournament will be my attempt to give back by means of a game, which has given so much to me. This event will be held Saturday, November 12, 2011 at the Links at Madison Green Golf Course in Royal Palm Beach, Florida.

The Links at Madison Green - Home of the Swing For A Cure

While Geoff played golf for this great cause, I attended the wedding of Adam and Amanda Russ, the youngest son of my good friend Lowell Rush.

I was fortunate to be accompanied by another good friend Steve Palin. Lowell, Steve and I all worked together at Little Switzerland – a spot in our careers that we all cherish.  Even though the company was sold out from under us far too early, we took one thing away from it,  a friendship that will last a life time!

As I stood at the reception, I turned to see Geoff coming towards me dressed in the same tuxedo that he was wearing at our wedding – the moment reminded me of our special day and the reason we walked down that isle.  It was a beautiful night and we danced in celebration of Amanda and Adam till very late in the evening. What a beautiful day – and what a wonderful evening! pkp

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Parker’s Climb – A Journey To Help Cure Parkinson’s Disease & Alzheimer’s Disease

It has been a very long time since I sat down to write for Parker’s Climb. I have not been here since posting our Mt. Kilimanjaro summit photos; but Parker’s Climb is still a part of my soul! The climb and the very special year of fundraising for the Michael J. Fox Foundation will always be a part of me – for as long as I live!

In the year leading up to the Parker family Mt. Kilimanjaro climb for Team Fox, I had a very different sense of purpose. I was training harder physically than I have ever done before. I spent a part of every day researching and writing for the website. The Parker’s Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro Expedition For Parkinson’s Research was so much more than climbing mountains. In my mind it was this distant journey to “the cure.”

Physically, I was training to climb mountains, but the real destination that I was longing for was a place known as “The Cure.” It never really occurred to me how I would feel one day when I had reached the summit and came down without that cure!

As I was standing at the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro surrounded by my family, I had no idea that I would one day feel a bit of disappointment when it was over. How could I have known? The only thing I knew for certain during the seven days up that mountain is that we would get there. I never doubted it for a second – well maybe just one! :)

I have shared the story that my Mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease just two days after we returned from Tanzania. Her testing began just days before we boarded our plane for Africa, but I asked not to get the results before we climbed our mountain.  In my heart I suppose I knew the answer – but the final diagnosis was not something that I could carry up that mountain! It was not a part of my plan and I had not prepared for it.  In reality I had never contemplated that diagnosis even for a second! I am now certain that it would have crippled me before reaching the summit had I known.

Even though Geoff and I were familiar with Alzheimer’s disease which claimed his mother two years ago, I really never fully comprehended what that diagnosis felt like for Geoff and his brothers.

I believe that there is a unique pain that comes from learning that a loved one has a brain disorder. Perhaps because so far, there have been no cures for brain disorders. When Geoff was diagnosed  with Parkinson’s disease, he seemed far calmer than me. For the first time in my life I could not stop the tears – all I could say was “I feel as if I cannot breath” and it took months for this feeling to subside.

When we got the diagnosis for Mom it was accompanied by the overwhelming feeling of losing my breath. I literally felt as if I were standing at 17,000 feet again, fighting for every ounce of air to reach the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. I learned once again what it felt like to open my eyes in the morning with tears streaming down my cheeks – before my conscious mind was really fully awake.

Certainly I do not think that my pain was any different than the pain felt by those whose loved ones are diagnosed with other diseases for which there is no cure. Or the pain that is felt for those whose loved ones pass away suddenly without warning.  And I must include that my feelings cannot be compared in any way to those who have actually gotten these diagnoses. My pain was just that – it was my pain, and only I could feel my pain.

These feelings I have come to understand are a lot like climbing a 19,340 foot mountain and struggling for every breath. You experience this tight feeling in your chest but finally, there is a point during the descent that you no longer fight for every ounce of air that fills your lungs. You just breathe.

I tell you this story today because a little while ago I was reminded that the cure for Parkinson’s disease, and the cure for Alzheimer’s disease is a much longer journey than I have traveled thus far! My work is not over yet and there is still much left to do in finding these cures. I am not at all sure what this means yet, but I am sure that I will somehow continue to work to help find these cures.

My friend Enzo Simone has just returned from introducing the 10 Mountains-10 Years movie across Europe and Montana. His quest to find the cure for Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease is taking The Army of Change up ten mountains, over a period of ten years. The Army of Change has put many miles on their climbing boots already, but they too are still on this long journey.

Enzo’s quest to find the cure for Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease is a very personal mission too. He like me,  did not know that these two diseases would one day have such prominence in his life, but they do.

Enzo – thank you for carrying this message across Europe and the US. You are an amazing General of this army my friend, and you are changing so many lives! Your video inspired me to write and to realize how much work is left to be done! Today I found a little of my voice in the fight against Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s and there is something liberating about that. I guess  like the journey up the mountain, I had to go Pole-Pole – Slowly – Slowly, one step at a time!

I am happy to share that Geoff is doing great. He continues to prove that physical activity is the strongest method of slowing the progression of Parkinson’s disease. Mom is doing incredible also! Most days I still question her diagnosis because she is doing so well – but time will certainly tell. We have pondered what comes next for Parker’s Climb and the Parker family who set out on the journey for the cure. A year ago today, we were 248 days away from Mt. Kilimanjaro and that seemed like an entire lifetime away! Who knows where our journey will take us from here.

You can see Enzo’s video by clicking on the Parker’s Climb Facebook link here – and while you are there don’t hesitate to visit the Parker’s Climb – Team Fox page to make a donation to The Michael J. Fox Foundation. One day, I promise you will hear much more about our quest to help end Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. There is still so much work to be done! pkp

This post is dedicated to our friend Wayne J. Whitman who passed away suddenly on September 24, 2011.  Wayne was my friend and constant cheerleader for more than twenty years. He became one of Geoff’s best friends and golf buddies.  I have never known a person who was more genuine and kind in everything he did! Wayne took friendship to a whole different level – and he will be missed. 

 

 

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Michael J. Fox To Make A Special Announcement On David Letterman Tonight!

Parker’s Climb has the scoop! From UNCRATE.com:

Dreams do come true. While it’s not yet 2015, Nike is releasing Marty’s mythical shoe from Back to the Future II. The Nike MAG ($TBD) won’t feature power-lacing, but they will sport glowing LEDs and an electroluminescent “Nike” in the strap, all glowing for around five hours per charge. Only 1500 pairs of the Nike MAG will be available — and they’ll all be auctioned off on eBay with all proceeds going to the Michael J. Fox Foundation to help fight Parkinson’s disease. The first of the auctions start tonight at 11:30 ET.

So who’s in?

Nike MAG Sneakers

Nike MAG Sneakers

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Parker’s Climb – Reaches The Summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro For Team Fox

Team Parker Summit’s Mt. Kilimanjaro 

July 10, 2011 - The Parker Family at the Mt. Kilimanjaro Summit For Team Fox - Geoff's 57th Birthday

When you are standing at the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, at 19,340 feet, you truly have the feeling that there is nothing in the world that you cannot do! You forget how hard it was to get there and for a little while, you no longer struggle to breathe because you have arrived at the summit of this magnificent mountain! You have this amazing feeling that you hope will last a life time; and truly, a part of it will!

When you train for an entire year to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro,  the highest freestanding mountain in the world, and live and breathe a national fundraiser over twelve months time, it would seem that nothing could take the wind from your sails once your team has reached the summit! But, sometimes life can throw you a curve. I will talk about that a little later, but now I will share a little about the amazing Parker’s Climb for Team Fox!

July 4, 2011 - Team Parker starting our Mt. Kilimanjaro Climb

The Parker’s Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro Expedition For Parkinson’s Research will forever be remembered as one of the greatest accomplishments of my lifetime, and I think I can safely say the same for the rest of the family! All six members of the Parker Family reached the summit of Mt.Kilimanjaro on July 10, 2011, (Geoff’s 57th birthday). We were energized by the good wishes and prayers from our loyal Parker’s Climb readers and supporters. This is truly what fueled our steps over the seven-day ascent and two-day descent, up and down this grand monadnock.

Day 2 - It was an incredible feeling to finally see the mountain after 2 days in a magnificent rain forest

There are no words to describe how my family members pulled together as a team during the climb. We supported one and other from the first step, and all the way to the summit and down! When one of our team slowed or needed to rest, we all slowed the pace. We all pushed each other, we shared food and snacks to fuel us, and we looked out for each other every step of the way! The Tusker Trail guides and porters were a crucial element of our success and I would place my life in their hands again!

Day 2 - Pam & Geoff with the first view of Mt. Kilimanjaro

Every member of our family never forgot for a minute why we were doing this climb! We climbed in honor of Team Fox, and for all of the fundraisers who have worked tirelessly before us. We climbed for Team Fox because of their never-ending spirit as they continue to spearhead a cure for Parkinson’s disease, and we climbed to inspire those living with Parkinson’s disease to stay active like Geoff, to hopefully slow the progression of this disease, and improve the quality of life. We climbed for those that have been diagnosed already who struggle every day of their lives, and we climbed for those who have yet to be diagnosed, as Parkinson’s disease continues without a cure.

Day 2 - Geoff and Urio in the rain forest filled with excitement to reach the goal!

Speaking of Geoff, he did amazing during our climb! He started off incredibly strong and was still in top form as we reached the summit on day seven. When we were within 250 yards from the summit sign, Geoff walked up and took me by the hand to walk with me to the summit sign. It was by the grace of God that we were standing there together, and it is a moment in time that I shall remember for a lifetime!

Geo IV, Larri, George III and Madeleine - In the Heather and Moorland Region - Day 3

Maddie & George IV - What an awesome experience in the prime of life!

They say the mountain air and the altitude can do strange things to people and let me tell you, this is a true statement! I became more quiet and reserved, and there were times that I could hardly recognize Geoff during the climb! For those of you who know Geoff, you might say he is the one who is quiet and a little reserved. You could say he is oftentimes “a man of few words”. Well, not during this climb! Geoff chatted his way up this mountain like I have never seen him before! Literally, he never stopped talking all the way to 19,340 feet! Really! One day he turned to me and said, “Pam, why you are so quiet?” My immediate response was, “I am trying to breathe Geoffrey, and you are talking enough for both of us!” And I said that in all seriousness, and with love! :)

Day 3 - Team Parker with our incredible Guides - This was one of the most beautiful spots on the mountain - Around 11,500 feet

Geoff was truly the hero of this climb and the reason we Parkers had the fortitude to do this climb in the first place. When you consider that Geoff’s Parkinson’s disease began possibly as early as 2003 or 2004, it speaks volumes for his ability to keep the symptoms in check, in order to be able to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro. We so strongly believe through an aggressive fitness regimen that includes working in the gym, bicycling, tennis and golf, Geoff has been fortunate to slow the progression of PD.

To Geoff, I say “I am truly inspired and amazed at your tenacity to manage this disease day in and day out!”  ”The strength you exhibited on this climb was beyond my wildest imagination!” ” Your story will continue to inspire others for years to come, and if we have helped one person with PD to start their own fitness regimen as a way to battle their disease, it was worth every step we took on Mt. Kilimanjaro!”

Geoff - The real hero of this climb - At the base of the Barranco Wall - It was 500 ft. straight up at 14,000 ft. altitude!

Day 4 - 12,850 feet in the Alpine Moorland Zone during a 6.2 mile trek to Barranco Camp

Every member of the Parker family are heroes in my eyes, but they were even before this climb! Three of us caught colds during the climb but we trudged on. George III had a sore throat very early on and could barely swallow for several days during the climb, yet he kept on climbing! My cold settled in the lungs causing me to take very shallow and painful breaths and I was fortunate to make it! By the end of the climb Geoff had the sore throat and by day nine, he once again settled into his quiet stance, sharing the same pain as George. But I will reiterate, he was still talking up a storm all the way to the top! At one point George III said, “Geoff, are you breathing through your ears or what?”

Day 4 - Geoff & Pam - On our way towards the Shira Tower touching altitudes of 15,500 feet

Lulu - She never stopped smiling and was an inspiration to all of Team Parker!

Lulu, George IV and Maddie were incredible! Lulu is my amazing sister-in-law Larri, who started her training for Mt. Kilimanjaro in the airport on the way to Moshe, Tanzania! Really – she took the stairs instead of the escalator! You think I am kidding and I am being totally serious here! She did tell me her legs got a little tired one day! “Love this sister; and will stay in the gym just to keep up with you from now on!”

Larri & Maddie - A Mom & Daughter Moment - As we prepared for another day!

Geoffrey and I were fortunate to return to the continent of Africa for our 7th wedding anniversary! We were married in South Africa in 2004, so it only seemed right that we celebrate during our climb! The Tusker Trail team were incredibly resourceful in getting a homemade cake up the mountain on Day 4, by sending a porter down the mountain to retrieve a cake that was being carried by another porter from Moshe! We were surprised on July 7, 2011 after a day spent at the Lava Tower, the highest day of climbing so far.  We climbed up to 15,500 feet for lunch that day and then descended back to just under 13,000 feet for a night of sleep. It was a long, hard day of climbing to say the least, but when about ten of the Tusker Trail team started singing and presented our anniversary cake, we forgot all about the day of climbing!

July 7, 2011 - Celebrating our 7th Anniversary - after a very challenging day at 15,500 feet - with a cake from the Tusker Trail Team!

Day 5 - View of Karanga Camp from the Barranco Wall - A 500 ascent straight up above the clouds!

The Barranco Wall is the most physically challenging part of the climb (beyond the summit day) only because it is straight up and oftentimes you are using some skill to navigate the large boulders.  The fact that you are now approaching 14,000 feet also plays into the challenge, but I think this part of the climb was one of the most enjoyable!  (Easy to say that now!)

Pam & Geoff - Day 5 - Surrounded by broken shards of rock that went on forever!

Different parts of the mountain seemed to almost reflect different parts of life  to me during the ascent. I was at such peace through the rain forest and the Heath & Moorland zones. Once past the Alpine Zone on day 4, there was very little flora and the mountain terrain was covered in huge broken shards of rock that seemed to go on forever. This part of the mountain was harsh to me and very much reminded me of the broken lives of those struggling with Parkinson’s disease, and other brain disorders. I found this part of the mountain to be cold and depressing for a time, (could it have been exhaustion perhaps?),yet beyond this point came one of the most beautiful areas well above the clouds, after we climbed the Barranco wall.

 

Above the Barranco Wall - Our Leader Thobias sits well above the clouds as we savor our accomplishment! One of my favorite moments!

There is no feeling like looking at life from above the tree line and finally above the clouds as you climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.  If you ever doubted that you would make it up this mountain, you think again when you see the beauty from this altitude.  I must admit however, the summit was still a very long, hard road ahead at this point, as we camped at 14,950 feet on the rocky slopes of the Barafu Camp. The winds and the cold set in covering your tent and sleeping bag with frost, and sleep the night before the summit really did not ever come.

This was the view on summit day - It looked close but it was so far away!

One of the things that moves you as you climb on summit day is the people who are coming down from the summit. They are exhausted, some are sick and have little life in them and almost all are on a mission to just make it down again after their moments at the summit.

Summit Day - Day 7 - George & Thobias - This may be the longest day of my life - Pole' Pole' has a new meaning - but this was one long walk - all up!

On summit morning Team Parker was summoned to breakfast at 3:30 am.  Many climbers left our camp at midnight to make it to the summit near daybreak, but our plan all along was to arrive behind most teams so we could take in the entire summit day in daylight.  With other climb teams coming through our campsite for the midnight exodus, in reality Team Parker was up all night.  This combined with the fact that you are already six days into the climb made for a pretty exhausted group when we were finally on our way to the summit.

Me & the porter who got me to the summit - I have no idea how I found the energy for the photo - but we were almost there!

I hate to admit that my camera never came out of my pocket on summit day! Thankfully others were taking photos – I was just trying to breathe! Geoff never wavered – I never saw one sign of him slowing down on summit day, but why would he?  We had come this far and I do believe if we had to crawl, we were going to summit.  I must have asked fifty times, “how much further” and I think Thobias always answered, “just a little while longer!” Our last stop before the final summit was Stella Point – and as tired as we were, I knew at this point we would claim this summit!

One tired George arriving at Stella Point - We were within 45 minutes to the Kibo Summit at this point!

The view at Stella Point (Kibo Crater) with Lulu making her way up and Maddie & George off in the distance already!

As we made our way past the glacier to the Kibo Summit - Lulu was still smiling!

The final push, that last 45 minutes to the summit does not seem so bad now!  I remember Geoff chatting up a storm and I recall telling him to get photos of the glacier.  Lulu smiled as we continued, and there was just something reassuring about this! When I could barely see the the Kibo Summit, Geoff took me by the hand and led me to the sign. That was a surreal moment in my life.  A year of planning, a day of remembering most every comment on our blog from readers, many moments throughout the day thinking of all the emails people sent over the year, hours of the last day that I kept saying, “You can do this”, words my trainer said to me for a year in the gym. And the words I kept singing over and over in my head, “There’s always gonna be another mountain…”

There it stood - in the distance - The Kibo Summit Sign at 19,340 feet!

Perhaps the most important moment for me during the entire climb is when I reached the summit and I placed the Team Fox bracelet that I had worn every day since the launch of Parker’s Climb over a sign post holding the Kibo Summit sign.  I had dreamed of this moment for an entire year, and it was now going to be a part of the experience for everyone who follows in our footsteps! This in my mind signified success!

My Team Fox Bracelet now a part of the Mt. Kilimanjaro Summit sign!

The other part of our dream - Pam & Geoff - Mt. Kilimanjaro Summit at 19,340 ft.

In many post over the year, I promised when you saw Geoff’s famous VICTORY SIGN, and my THUMBS UP, it would be for those of you who cheered us on – for those of you who so graciously donated to Team Fox on behalf of Parker’s Climb! Well here it is my friends – You were there with us! We knew it!

Geoff's Victory Sign & My Thumbs Up - With Maddie & George IV

George IV and Maddie took this mountain by storm with little to no trouble. George had the greatest analogy when he pointed out that on the first night of the climb, we slept at a higher altitude than any of us had ever been before! He and Madeleine slept at a camp next to the Furtwanger Glacier at 18,500 feet the night we reached the summit. The amazing thing is that they actually slept, which puts them among a small ten percent of people who are able to sleep at this altitude.

We all just died laughing when George told us that he watched Maddie sleeping so peacefully that he wanted to wake her to be sure she was getting enough oxygen! He also shared that at this altitude, it took about five minutes to take off each boot that night.  I think he felt a lot better when the rest of us admitted that it took us at least that long to remove our boots and we slept back at 14,500 feet that night.

George, Maddie and Shabani - a long way to the finish!

Statistics indicate that about 80% of people who try to sleep at an altitude of 18,500 feet will get a pretty significant headache. The powerhouse Parker siblings breezed right through the headache and slept well! Parker’s Rock!

Day 6 - The Rocky slopes nearing the Barafu Camp

Since we were up at 3:30 am on summit day, George, Larri, Geoff and I decided to return to our base camp after the summit because we figured with an 80% headache rule, it would certainly consume us! This was one wild descent from 19,340 feet back to 14,500 feet.  We truly skied through deep volcanic rock on the back of our boots at lightning speed, and for much of the descent we were in the dark. You literally had to feel your steps in the dark because you could not see the trail! This only proves that our guides were incredible and amazing. I have never been so happy to see a camp in my life! We did it – we went up – and we came down! And then we went into a very, very deep sleep until early the next morning!

Geoff's Birthday Celebration - July 11, 2011 - One day after his birthday!

There was one bit of unfinished business before leaving this mountain! On our last night, and one day after Geoff turned 57 on Kibo Summit day, the Tusker Team surprised Geoff with a birthday cake! This was our second cake for the week and in the true spirit, our Guides and Porters sang Happy Birthday while Geoffrey cut the cake.   We are pretty sure that we are the only group to have two cakes ushered up that mountain in the same week – but it was a very special week indeed!

July 12, 2011 - The Final Morning - Team Parker with our 3 Guides and 27 Porters that kept us going!

Team Parker with our Incredible Guides – Thobias, Shabani and Urio

In the United States, there are as many as  1.5 million people living with Parkinson’s disease.  World wide there is said to be somewhere between 5.0 to 6.0 million people who have been diagnosed with PD.  I still believe that these estimates are low, and it is a fact that the number of cases will continue to increase as a large percentage of baby boomers reach their senior years.

We firmly believe staying active is the key to prolonging health and mobility for those diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.  Geoff has certainly proven that his daily regimen which includes some form of physical activity is working.  But we also know, that we must find a cure!

Geoffrey - The Inspiration For Parker's Climb! - Turning 57 on this very day!

If you have not donated to Parker’s Climb, I hope you will visit our Team Fox page to donate now. We are so grateful for all of those who have donated and who followed us over the past year! We are so incredibly humbled by the outpouring of support as we help fund The Michael J. Fox Foundation initiatives to help end this disease.

A special thank you to Russ who created our Parker’s Climb Website more than a year ago, and updated it while we were away.  Also, to Kelley for updating our Facebook page while we were climbing to keep everyone there updated!

Much Love,

Geoffrey & Pam, George III & Larri, George IV and Madeleine

**************************************************************************************************

On July 22, 2011, just two days after returning from Tanzania, East Africa, my mother was diagnosed with an incurable brain disorder as well. There are some events in life that you just cannot prepare for and having a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is one of them. We are familiar with this feeling because we lost Geoffrey’s mom to Alzheimer’s disease just over two years ago.

It has taken a while to catch my breath; but I still firmly believe that one day we will beat these diseases, if the research continues. It only takes one of these brain disorders to be cured, to open the door for many other cures. We cannot stop working for the cures! We will not stop fighting for the cures!

There’s always gonna be another mountain…

Its not about how fast I get there, Its not about what’s waiting on the other side… It’s the climb! pkp

 

May our lights continue to shine - like the sun on this majestic mountain!

 

 

 

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The Decent Down Mount Kilimanjaro

Crater Camp to Mwenka Camp: Mwenka Camp will be the last night spent on Kilamanjaro. Hike time today is 7-9hrs, 10.2mi 10,400 ft. Tomorrow morning Team Parker will have a 3-4hr walk down to the gate, where the Tusker vehicles will be there to meet us and take us back to the hotel for a well-earned shower!

Promise to update with pictures as soon as we have them and are in a safe spot to upload!

*** UPDATE ***
Tusker Trail World Class Treks wrote: “Happy to announce that the entire Parker team made it to the summit of Kilimanjaro – Such an AWESOME job! They are all well and resting at the hotel in Moshi, catching up on some well-deserved R & R in a real bed.”

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Parker’s Climb Has Reached The Summit!

Today all gear is repacked taking only what they will need for the summit push. Today will be the toughest day, with the most stunning views of Mawenzi, the Kibo Saddle and the plains below. They will slowiy wind their way up over the rocky outcrops and through the scree until they reach the rim of the crater. After having lunch on the rim, the Team will make their push to the Summit. The view from the summit is dramatic! The weather and effects of the altitude will determine how long they will stay. After the Summit celebration they will descend to the Crater Camp for the night facing the amazing Furtwrangler Glacier… Todays climb time is 6-9hrs, 2.8mi and Summit 19,340ft. Crater camp is 18,700ft and is at the highest sleeping altitude.

Pictures to come!

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Day 6 – One More Day Until The Summit! Join Us On Facebook!

Barafu Camp Ariel View

Barafu Camp Ariel View


Todays climb has been all UPHILL to the rocky, craggy slopes at Barafu camp. Barafu means “ice” in Swahili, and its extremely windy and cold at this altitude. I’m sure there is a buzz of excitement as the Parkers anticipate their toughest day just ahead. Todays climb time is 3-4 hrs, 2.2 mi, 15,200ft. Tomorrow, July 10th, is a VERY SPECIAL day. The Team will Summit on Geoff’s 57th Birthday… Happy Birthday Geoff!! We are all cheering you on as you reach the Summit..Almost There – WORLD UP!

Please please please visit our Facebook page and “Like” us today… we would truly love to have many more Facebook followers and Parkinson’s Conquerors join us!

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Day 5 – 500ft Of Lava Flow Ahead!

Today’s BIG challenge is to hike up the Barranco Wall – a 500ft lava flow. It’s not a technical wall, but challenging nonetheless. Once on top of the “wall”, the climb becomes easier and extremely beautiful with fantastic views of the crags and crevasses of the jagged peaks of Kibo. Lastly Team Parker will descend into the Karanga Valley and up the other side for a good night sleep at camp. The sunsets here are spectaular. Todays travels were 4-5hrs a distance of 2.4 miles at 13,200ft elevation.

The Great Barranco Wall

The Great Barranco Wall - 500ft Of Pure Lava & Adrenaline!

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Day 4 – Parker’s Climb

This morning (July 7th 2011) the Team started their climb toward Lava Tower lower camp, at 14,950 ft. They will stop for lunch at the camp to allow their bodies to acclimatize. Afterwards they will descend down through the Giant Senecio forest to Barranco, on a ridge at the foot of the Barranco Wall. This is where the Machame & Lemosho routes converge, so possibly at this point they will get to meet other climbers ascending the Machame Route. Today’s total climb time is 6-7 hrs covering 4.6 miles. The team is over 1/2 way to the summit – World Up Team Parker!

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