Congratulations, Jimmy Choi! You’re our hero!

I received this tweet the other day from the Michael J Fox Foundation and I must admit that it left a bitter taste in my mouth. I am only vaguely familiar with the television program American Ninja – a show where contestants race through an insane obstacle course like human pinballs. Like many reality shows, it all seems a little pointless to me.
Having said that, I suppose for those individuals who take on this “challenge”, they probably have their reasons – be it to face and overcome Herculean barriers, perhaps to showcase olympian-like physical strength or dogged determinism, or the rangy warrior facing a flurry of foam foes and blows.
Still, I don’t get it.
 Jimmy Choi probably does though. The 41 year old from Illinois was one of the contestants this week and what set him apart from others was that he happens to have Parkinson’s Disease. He was diagnosed 14 years ago so even the most cynical critic must give him credit for such extreme effort. Props, Jimmy!
However, the Michael J Fox Foundation gets no props on this one. Congratulations, Jimmy Choi! You’re our hero!  Our hero? Really? What exactly makes a man who runs through foam a hero? Is there an inference here that People with Parkinson’s (PwP) should look to a person like Mr. Choi as some kind of role model? If so, this is fiercely off the mark. Most PwP have much more severe symptoms and limitations brought on by their disease than does Jimmy.
Might I suggest that if the Foundation is looking for heroes, they should look to the men and women who struggle to live with the day-to-day challenges they face in living with PD. They should look to those partners of PwP who give up so much of their own lives to help support and care for the PwP in their family. They should look to the advocates and activists in the Parkinson’s community who are working so hard to battle this disease. They should look to the members of the medical community who give so much ongoing support to PwP.
These “heroes” may not have raised $100,000 for MJFF. They might not have any PR cash coattails upon which to ride but it seems to me that most days when life gives these “heroes” lemons, they make proverbial lemonade. They are our heroes.
Me, I just sucked on the lemons today.
I’ll try to be less tart next time.



2 thoughts on “Lemon”

  1. Right on, Rob! I’m no fan of “reality TV” shows either. My reality is a good book! Or album. Thanks for sharing.


  2. Hi Rob,

    Have not heard from you in a while. Glad to see your fired up post.

    Hope all is well with you and the family. We have had a few short vacations and will likely take another in August.

    Take care and let’s arrange to talk soon. Iris



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