Bret Parker

Posted on 13 July 2012

web convo Parker_Bret


By Candace Sindelman

The 44 year old, married father of two young boys and year round part-time resident of Sag Harbor talks about the Hamptons Hundred Miler and living with Parkinson’s disease.


What is the Hamptons Hundred Miler?

Sam Fox works for the Michael J. Fox Foundation. He is very involved with the association, no family relation to Michael J. Fox. He is going to run 100 miles from Times Square to Southampton in a 24-hour period. He is running the whole hundred miles and people are joining him around the route in certain spots. The money raised goes to awareness and research to continue the fight to cure Parkinson’s disease. Sam asked me if I would join him for a part of the run.


What advice would you give to someone who has Parkinson’s but is afraid to tell his or her loved ones?

I would say first and foremost do what feels comfortable for you. Every situation is different. The right time and place is going to vary from person to person. Going through the process of outing myself, the reactions of friends, family and coworkers have been amazing and had eliminated the stress of having to conceal the disease, I have made myself feel better.


How had your own experience been living with Parkinson’s?

For me, my symptoms are I have a tremor in my right hand, slight tremor in right leg and stiffness in right side. There is nothing I can’t do and everything I have normally done I still do, including run. Sometimes it just makes it tougher. It is that much more important to get out there and exercise and be mentally active. It reminds me that it is not just about the Parkinson’s, there is a lot of living to do and a lot of fun activities, and running is a part of it.


How will the proceeds of the fundraiser be used?

The money will go toward Michael J. Fox Foundation to raise awareness and research and continue the fight to cure Parkinson’s disease. It’s very important to me to be involved in these activities. The public tends to think of it as an “older person’s disease.” But the face of this condition is a young one too. People in their 30s and 40s are not necessarily comfortable telling friends and family about their disease. The more of us that get involved and educate the public the easier it will be for everyone else to live with the condition.


How can the community get involved?

Go to the website and donate. I also started a Facebook group for young patients of Parkinson’s. It is a private group only for young patients and they can send me a message on Facebook to join. I started ten days ago and it already has 50 members, all have young onset Parkinson’s. It’s been encouraging, where other young people can compare notes, share stories and help people on the fence about disclosing. They can do a Team Fox Event run a half marathon, NYC Triathlon or Iron Man (and other events Team Fox supports.) Every person can make a difference, even if you don’t have Parkinson’s.


The Hamptons Hundred Miler will take place on July15/July16 to donate visit: http://www2.michaeljfox.org/site/TR?team_id=1680&fr_id=1053&pg=team


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