In January I was nominated for and received what is called "the Local Hero" award at The Victory Summit, which is a motivational, educational, day long gathering of those involved in the Parkinson's Disease community. Well, I should and would never want to stand alone with this award as there are so many deserving of it. I will be posting those individuals who I consider should have received this award.

Jerry Stutzman and his wonderful family who created and rode their bikes from Florida to San Diego
Brian Baehr and his family who created The Baehr Challenge
Patti Meese who was 1st runnerup in the 2013 Ms. Senior Arizona Beauty Pageant, tying for 1st place in the talent competition, and taking home the photogenic award!
Stew Martz, Phoenix Police Detective, dedicated friend, ever positive attitude
David Dow, quiet giant, great friend, brains
Pete Shaw: positive, golfer, friend

Carl Ames: Phoenix Local Hero

carl ames Moments of Victory<sup>®</sup> Inspired Stories
Diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2008 at age 46, Carl Ames of Peoria, Arizona refuses to let the effects of the disease keep him from living life to the fullest and encouraging others to do the same. A father of five and grandfather of two, Carl believes in living well by staying healthy, a regimen that for him involves a strong commitment to exercise, positivity and helping everyone he can along the way.
Exercise has become essential in Carl’s daily life with Parkinson’s. He credits the Pedal
Over Parkinson’s (POP’S) Ride with helping him discover cycling. “I quickly learned that
being active gave me temporary respite from Parkinson’s,” Carl explains. “When I was
riding or moving, I didn’t feel like I had anything wrong with me.” Connecting with POP’s
Ride soon opened up other exercise opportunities for Carl. He has since participated in a
variety of cycling events around Arizona, sprint triathlons, and completed a 78-mile
cycling ride in the Colorado Rockies with his son this past summer.
A positive and open attitude is another key component for Carl. “I’m surrounded by
positive people that want to do good, which helps me to be involved and embrace
everything that’s good about Parkinson’s, and to do what I can to help others,” he says.
Since his diagnosis, Carl has created or found many opportunities for help support his
community. Carl has founded a non-profit with a friend dedicated to providing bicycles,
helmets and basketballs to underprivileged youth, serves on the board of the National
Parkinson Foundation Arizona Chapter, organized a “Peddling Pancakes for Parkinson’s”
fundraising breakfast, leads a Young-Onset Parkinson’s support group, continues to cycle
around the city and has learned that “strangers are not strangers.”
Many commend Carl’s “infectious attitude,” and his view that adversity is simply an
opportunity to educate people about Parkinson’s and living life to the fullest. “I’ve
learned how important it is to take advantage of a humbling situation, someone opening
a door or walking me to my car,” Carl maintains. “You never know how you might help
someone else.” Carl’s friend and fellow person living with Parkinson’s, Brian Baehr adds,
“anytime I am with Carl he finds an opportunity to help someone up who is down with
some form of setback. These people Carl touches are not just people with Parkinson’s,
but anybody who needs some uplifting. He may be personally feeling very “off,” but that
never keeps him from smiling or offering to help.”
Carl sums up his philosophy for living with Parkinson’s and making the most of each day
by saying, “I don’t wish Parkinson’s on anyone, but I wish everyone could have the
opportunity to experience the things that I have experienced with Parkinson’s, and more
importantly, experience the love, compassion and generosity coming from wonderful
family, friends and strangers that I am able to experience these things with!”


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