My "Ultimate" PD Diagnosis

The Victory Summit January 26, 2013
The opportunity to be nominated and selected by my peers to receive this award is truly a humbling experience. As I have known about this for a few weeks, I have had the opportunity to pull some thoughts to share today.  
Five years ago in early 2008, I received that diagnosis of having Parkinson’s disease.  Since then, I have been able to experience many new activities, meet many wonderful people, and get involved in events, support groups, committees, that I never would have thought to be involved with had I not been challenged with PD. I’m not indicating that one should seek for a PD Diagnosis in order to have experiences as I’ve had!
There are so many individuals, groups that I need to honor with the receiving of this award:
First, to the Davis Phinney Foundation and Victory Summit members, I thank you for your great work, enthusiasm, and passion for helping those with Parkinson’s disease and their families deal with the day to day challenges PD brings, and celebrating the daily victories that come to us. Last night, as Leisa and I walked into the hotel lobby, the first person I recognized was Davis himself. I introduced myself and Leisa, and had the opportunity to chat with a very cool man who I admire and respect for what he has done and will do for the PD community
Second I would like to thank the medical professionals, as well as the physical therapists, chiropractors, massage therapists that so passionately work with us and help us move better.  My friends and associates at the Muhammad Ali Center, Medtronics, the Arizona Chapter American Parkinson Disease Association,  the Parkinson Disease Foundation. Each in their own way bring daily victories to all of us effected with PD. Thank you Dr. Shill, Dr.  Mahant, Margaret Anne, Darolyn, Joey, Karlin, John Bargus, Dr. Joe Maher, Thomas and Kathy, John Hill, Tami and all the therapist at Banner Thunderbird.
Next,  I would like to acknowledge hero’s in their own special way, individually and collectively have I great respect and admiration for my POPS Ride Family, led by father Jerry Stutzman. This is the organization that got me going and pulled me in as their own.  Shane,  Shannon, and Kyle , and the whole POPS RIDE Family, I love you  all and thank you this day for their great passion for Pedaling Over Parkinson’s and the genuine good people that they are.
Then there are my wonderful friends, Brian and Kaye Baehr, and their sons Matt, Preston, and Riley. This family is remarkable in what they do every year to create the Baehr Challenge, an obstacle course event raising funds for the Michael J Fox Foundation. They have included me now in the planning of this year’s event. I am very excited to be involved.
I recently met Roy and Lynn Roden, who in November started a Seattle WA to Miami Fl bike ride to bring awareness to PD.  Roy had DBS last July and is doing extremely well.  I had the opportunity to meet them in Gila Bend recently and ride to Tucson with them. It was a remarkable experience with amazing people. Thank you Roy and Lynn for lingering here in Arizona to be with us here today.
To my friends that I have met at LA Fitness or strangers who have approached me to offer assistance when they see me struggling to walk. I have gained a great appreciation for those people who take the time to see if I am okay and I have made friendships with. Jason and Jaime, Jim, AJ and Terry
I have a wonderful employer, Knight Transportation, who I cannot thank enough for all that they have done for my family and I over the years. Kevin, Keith, Gary and Randy, I sincerely thank them and all my friends at Knight who support me and strengthen me. Dustin, Debbie, Kalen, Jim, thank you for being here today.
I have a very supportive church family and I thank them for their love and support. My friends Danny and Kyle, Brad and Cheryl, how much I appreciate you.
I have made particularly strong friendships with others effected by PD,  Wayne Smithson, Dave Voight, Brian Baehr, Pete Shaw, Jerry Stutzman, David Dow, Patti Meese, Lance Martin, Armando Brizuela, and I thank each one for the important role that  you play in my life.
And most importantly I thank my family,  my wife Leisa, and our children, McKelle & Casey, who have our two grandsons,  Jordan, Jacie. Kamrie and Torie.  You often get me when I am hurting, tired, moving slow, while others get me at my best. I thank you for your love and support and hope you know how much I love and cherish you.
Leisa, at this time I have a special presentation to make to you. It is not everyday that I get to give you flowers in front of 1000 people. (Brad Denham presented with a most beautiful bouquet of tulips and gladiolas)
And to all you here today that are challenged with PD, when we fall, get back up, keep positive, keep moving, and keep celebrating our daily accomplishments and victories!
In my ultimate PD diagnosis, it would say, “In 2013 The Victory Summit will be held in Phoenix, Az., and you will be nominated as “Local Hero”.
I have had a hard time with this “’hero” title, but then the thought came to me….in light of the “Ultimate PD Diagnosis”… “accept it graciously Carl, after all Davis Phinney can’t win them all the time!”


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