by Richelle Olsen
Today we received a donation of $423.95 from Joan Krapf. Now I don’t know Joan. And as it came delivered with her purchase of an event ticket, I first thought it was a system error. Who would donate that massive amount out of the blue? So I dropped her an email, and got this response:
“Yes I made that donation, in memory of my dear, darling husband, Conrad William Krapf. We asked for donations to Shake It Up in lieu of flowers at his funeral, at which time we donated $500, and now I wish to donate more. God bless you for all your effort”
Wow. Wiping the tears from my eyes, Joan reminded me in just a few words the true reason for the fundraising Shane and I are doing. To lose someone you have spent your whole life with to such a terrible disease is simply too horrendous to imagine. There's nothing fair about it.
As you know, Vaughan has been our focus for all our fundraising. The same age as me, 34, he’s young, loves his bike, the outdoors and his young family. I’ll be honest, when we started fundraising last year, he had a bit of a shake in his hand, and well, we had heard the horror stories about what happens later in life, but hey, Vaughan is just Vaughan...he’s our mate, he’s just like us, he’s invincible isn’t he? Aren’t we all invincible?
But as we watch small things in him change, just in the past year, it becomes a bit more real, and we come to grips with his reality...... Bit by bit, this stupid disease will make itself front and centre. He won’t know exactly how, or exactly when, but the one thing that’s for sure, is that Parkinson’s take over his life. And that of his family and everyone around him. Man, where’s that cure already?!
It never ceases to amaze me, that in the general conversation of talking to people about the Tassie Traverse, and our reasons for doing it, how many of those people are affected in some way by Parkinson’s. The owner of our major sponsors father and uncle have it, the random hiker we met on a back trail in Tassie’s father has it, my colleague’s aunt passed away from PD last year, my manager at work’s father has it, another sponsor’s mate has it, and yet another sponsor’s cousin has Parkinson’s.
In fact 30 Aussies are diagnosed with Parkinson’s every day. And on average 3 of them will be under 40 years old. Its not just an old persons disease, it affect anyone. Chances are, if you don’t know someone with Parkinson’s today, terrible as it is, you probably will at some point.
So wrapped up as Shane and I are in logistics, event, route and nutrition planning, run training and the like for the Tassie Traverse, I was glad I was reminded today of how raw and how human Parkinson’s disease is.
Thank you Joan for sharing the memory of your husband Conrad William Krapf....we are working hard to honor his, and many others' memories, and trying our hardest to contribute to finding a cure.
With the support of everyone following the Tassie Traverse, lets try our very very best to put an end to the suffering caused by Parkinson’s disease. Let’s do it so that those young people with Parkinson’s, including Vaughan, and those who are yet to be diagnosed, can have a shot at a normal, fulfilling, fully functional life. There’s still time in their lifetimes for them to see a cure.
You can donate at www.theultralife.com.au/tassie-traverse
Thanks to the generosity of the founder of Shake It Up, as he covers all of the administrative costs of the foundation, all donations to Shake It Up go directly to Parkinson’s research. Every cent. How awesome is that.
Shane's an ultra runner and La Sportiva Ambassador, with a taste for adventure, always up for a new and different challenge.