#WearGray4PD Awareness Because...“Gray Matter Matters!”

Do YOU have a gray shirt?

April is Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month. Several organizations from across the country to around the world are organizing ways to raise awareness to this chronic illness that sneaks up on unsuspecting loved ones and alters the course of not just individuals diagnosed, but also their families. This April, put on that gray shirt and share YOUR Parkinson's story because your "gray matter matters!"

What are YOU doing April 11?

Hott Family Wears Gray for PD AwarenessJoin the Hott Family this April 11 by wearing gray with others for Parkinson's Awareness! This year, April 11, 2018 will be World Parkinson's Disease Day. April 11 is also the birthday of Dr. James Parkinson, who first described Parkinson's Disease as "paralysis agitans", in a paper called “An Essay on the Shaking Palsy” way back in 1817.

Look, here we are wearing gray for World Parkinson's Disease Day in 2012!

Why gray?

Why gray, you may ask? Because gray is the color of the very organ that controls it all, the BRAIN. So, on this April 11, or any April day that works for you, wear YOUR gray shirt, share YOUR story! Snap a selfie wearing gray and share it with #WearGray4PD because YOU matter,...because gray matter, well…..matters!”

Why not?

Because, I promise, YOU'll feel better knowing others around the world are wearing gray with YOU. We get it. We understand your daily struggles and how much it sucks to have a chronic neurological illness that challenges the simplest daily activity. I don't have Parkinson's, but the love of my life does.

Here is why raising awareness matters to me

Ten years ago, when my young “hotthubby” was diagnosed at 50 years old, I was inundated with a sense of urgency and panic. Honestly, the information I initially discovered online made my unrest even worse! Images and stories mostly seemed to reveal that Parkinson’s Disease looked like something from which only the elderly suffered. Everywhere I looked, it was all white haired, older men and women. Frantic searches for a cure only offered a handful of treatments for Parkinson’s symptoms.

Nowhere online did I see a forty-two year old mother of four, including a pair of toddlers, attending soccer games, track meets, and school recitals! WAIT! Can someone please HOLD ON HERE! I’m.not.OLD!

Yet! (Ok, so I do have white hair too, but that’s just all because me and my Cousin Sarah Jane were both completely gray at 35! It runs in the family.)

Following my disappointment of realizing that young people with Parkinson’s were hard to discover anywhere, especially out here in West “by God” Virginia, I then engaged on a frenzied journey to find a fix. Somewhere, someplace on the vast World Wide Web, someone must know how to fix this.

What followed was an unexpected chapter to my life. A bit of a “detour” one would say. An “education” for which I didn’t ask. Yet, even though any terrible diagnosis can feel like life as you know it will never be the same (and well, honestly, life will “never be the same”), it actually, believe it or not, will get better. There are times when from the worst situation littered with aches, pain, gut-wrenching cramps, tremors, (insert your symptoms here...); it feels like this broken body reaches an irreversible low; unexpected surprises may, and will, arise. Because you're not alone.

Even while wallowing, if you will, in this low, we sink yet still deeper when we realize that not just our physical well being but also our youth has been stolen by an illness. It’s kinda sorta like that young, healthy part of you dies, never to return, and the pit gets darker, and deeper, and more desperate for a fix or a cure that, no matter how much you read and hope, feels years away, and soon you too will be another senior citizen with Parkinson's. Eventually, a chronic illness can leave us dangerously stuck on an isolated island, seemingly without hope.

But YOU matter! (More than ever!)

Eventually, my little island of despair quickly grew to a continent of discoveries, lasting friendships, new “family,” and a renewed sense of purpose. Sure, I am still stuck out here on Hott Mountain without a nearby neighbor; but, my Parkinson’s Disease Island is filled with friends and family who pray for us, celebrate with us, cry with us, and, especially in April...advocate with us too!

So, go get that gray shirt and put it on! Snap a picture wearing gray this April 11, or any day during Parkinson's Awareness Month. Post, comment, share it on our Facebook community with #WearGray4PD. You matter! And,... guess what?....

You’re invited!

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