Post written by Drs. Hiner, Hung and Blindauer
This post is meant to accompany a slideshow created by John Chaplock. You may view it here:
|George made it! After six hours on the frigid road, 54-year-old George McCullough peddled the last mile of his 62-mile journey in the Moving Forward: Ride/Walk for Parkinson’s. You may remember meeting George as a Parkinson’s patient featured on Today’s TMJ4 News on Thursday, Oct. 8.
George McCullough made it!
Waiting in the street the entire six hours to proudly cheer him on were George’s wife, four kids, two aunts, other family members, numerous friends, Davis Phinney and the whole Moving Forward Parkinson’s tribe.
It was downright cold, in fact below freezing, at 7:30 am when George headed out behind Davis Phinney’s wife, Connie Carpenter, former Olympic cyclist, and their son, Taylor Phinney, and about 50 other serious cyclists. Taylor showed his national champion form when he finished the ride in under three hours. His toes were freezing!
At 9:00 am another 50 cyclists headed out to ride 28 miles behind our own Chris Sheridan and the executive director of the Davis Phinney Foundation, Amy Howard. At 10:00 am, another 50 headed out behind Olympic cyclist Davis Phinney to ride 14 miles. Al, a soccer referee with Parkinson’s, rode his three-wheeled low rider while George and daughter Cherie rode a tandem bike. Our many volunteers cheered them onward, some dressed as witches, monkeys and very bundled-up cheerleaders! There were many sights to see including a dog in a Moving Forward volunteer T-shirt and a man (Peter Sparrow) with a very unusual beanie talking to a cheetah, AKA our very own Vicki Conte!
At 11:00 am, more than 150 people set out on the two-mile walk. People with Parkinson’s disease, some in wheelchairs, as well as spouses, kids, grandkids, friends and neighbors all showed they could “walk the walk.” Even a Paul McCartney look-alike walked. Little by little folks returned from their various cycling and walking routes to eat brats and hot dogs, drink beer, and listen to The Blifftones rock our tent! We congratulated each other and thanked the 120 volunteers who made it all happen by cooking, serving, driving the route, and guiding riders on the route as sentries for hours and hours. And we waited for George.
Prizes were awarded to our top fund raisers – Maureen Gile and Bill & Lynn Ihlenfeld. So far we have raised over $30,000 and we’re still counting! All of the proceeds from the benefit ride will be split evenly between the Davis Phinney Foundation and the Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Program at Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin. Davis Phinney, world class cyclist, world class human being, and person with Parkinson’s, shared words of encouragement and solidarity with the Parkinson’s tribe. He had a similar message the day before at his Victory Summit. The encouragement to find small victories every day and savor them was embraced on this brisk October day. And then something more than a small victory occurred …
George made it! Despite eight years of living with Parkinson’s, despite his 40-year old Schwinn bike, with cheeks red, his nose wet, and to the cheers of his loved ones, George finished the challenging 62 mile course. Maybe, together with his family, doing something is better than doing nothing. George McCullough certainly did something on Sunday, Oct. 11, 2009. We all experienced the victory.