Life is one big support group

Dave Kergaard speaks to Parkinson's support group at Tunnell Cancer Center. Dave is a personal trainer at Club Fitness and a retired school administrator and former football Coach in the Kent County school district in Chestertown, Maryland. BY DAVE FREDERICK
April 5, 2011

Trainer Dave Kergaard and I crashed a Parkinson’s support group held in a Tunnell Cancer Center Conference room last Monday afternoon April 4. Dave had been invited to speak on exercise and the importance “to keep moving” as Parkinson’s is a movement disorder and to self start and sustain an exercise program is a monumental challenge for anyone dealing with this progressive disease. I was there to support Dave who is my friend and I was curious to meet the people. My mother in law is way down the road with advanced Parkinson’s and up close it is a bugger of an affliction and her battling against it is heroic and throw in macular degeneration and loss of most of her hearing and she is pretty much the package of a person with every reason to give up but she just keeps trucking.

I am always amazed and constantly humbled when I see people stand up to struggles in their lives that are not going away and are guaranteed to get worse. And as my grand mom Rose said, “You’ll be lucky if you only get one bad card from life’s pinochle deck of misfortunes and maladies. “

And that is what strikes me as I look at others who are stricken with whatever it is they never asked for, it's  the mental toughness and the unwillingness to just roll over and play dead. My god the meeting was in a cancer center and who wants or needs cancer?

I lost a father to progressive multiple sclerosis and a mother and sister to ovarian cancer. We all have stories, in fact, I write stories of heroism in the face of great odds and I’m good at it just don’t call my number because all joking aside I am a huge baby more likely to give up than to buck up.

Dave repeatedly told the group “I don’t know what it’s like to be you I just know the importance of exercise for all of us and I encourage you all to get involved in an exercise program no matter how tough it is because you will just end up feeling better.”

The session ended and I waded into the crowd eager to find out things about people like where they came from and what they did in their lives, a disease may be something that a person has but it isn’t who they are.