Matt’s Story

When my dad was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2007, it was a huge blow for our family. See, he has always been the cool-headed anchor of our family, the calm voice of reason, and the center of physical and emotional strength. He is our rock, the stoic counter-balance to my mother, and the living example who taught my brothers and I what it really means to be a man. He taught us at an early age to deal with our problems by looking upward not inward, to take action over acceptance of being ‘the victim.’ True to his long-cited words of wisdom, he pretty much just took it on the chin and moved on when he was diagnosed. It wasn’t so easy for the others in our family.

At first, I couldn’t look him in the eye when I saw him spill his coffee or drag his feet for fear of tearing up. It wasn’t simply that I didn’t want him to think I felt sorry for him; granted, he’s no man for a pity party. I think it was more that I didn’t want him to see the hurt in my eyes, or reveal how powerless I felt for being unable to do anything to help. Thankfully I finally took my father’s advice, and those feelings turned out to be misguided.

I discovered that there are a lot of people out there who live with those same feelings that I did, people who genuinely want to help make a difference for those they care about. Thanks to the friends of the Baehr Challenge, my dad and the 6.3 million other people battling Parkinson’s are sending a message. Together, we are pooling our resources and making a real difference to support scientific research that WILL lead to a cure, and our efforts have already funded improved treatments for Parkinson’s.

Thanks to people like you, our family has grown closer than it has ever been. The friends of Baehr Challenge have shown us what it means to show up for something that matters. Ever since my dad was diagnosed with PD genuinely good people just keep surfacing into our lives, and we are regularly touched by the amazing depth of character these long-term friends and new acquaintances alike have shown us.

Thank you for being a friend of the Baehr Challenge. It means the world to our family to see the love and support you bring, and we promise to do our very best to keep outdoing ourselves every year.