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  • Ned Neuhaus

Making a Connection

Meters Rowed: 39,952

Calories Burned: 2,224

Times my wife complained about me dripping sweat on the floor: 3


I will be frank, starting the Row to Slow Parkinson’s came from a fairly singular thought … get people living with Parkinson’s moving by setting an example of what is possible.


Two weeks into this adventure, I am starting to realize there is much more to it. At last count, we now have 13 people rowing as a result of seeing posts or knowing someone who is rowing. I know that number is light, there are more out there that don’t have a direct connection to me.


A perfect example of making a connection came to me last night. Scott Johnson, a friend and former coworker that is not living with Parkinson’s, sent me a Facebook message “You’ve inspired me - just ordered a Concept 2 rower to join the movement! I’ve been using one periodically at the Y, but now I’m going all in!”


Scott and I met in the 1990s, when we both worked for Caterpillar in Leicester, England. Our families got to know each other and furthered that relationship in Geneva, Switzerland in 2001 and later through work connections back in Peoria, IL. His youngest and our oldest kids went to school together, his daughter even used to babysit our kids when they were young. Dee Dee and Barb are friends.


The last time I saw Scott in person was in January, 2015 right before I retired. He came to my office to wish me well. It was the first time we spoke about me living with Parkinson’s (I had not told people at work until I made my retirement announcement). I remember Scott’s sincerity in wishing me well and his genuine interest in my well being. It was a great conversation.


Fast forward five years later and many interactions on Facebook, and Scott is getting ready to embark on a physical challenge inspired by seeing others use exercise as a way to mitigate the symptoms of their incurable, progressive, movement disorder. He referenced the famous Disney quote “If you can dream it, you can do it” describing the incredible feats folks living with Parkinson’s have done that he has seen me share over the past few years.


Almost more importantly, was Scott’s connection of the Row to Slow Parkinson’s and those not directly impacted by Parkinson’s. The message of “keep moving”, while extremely important to those living with Parkinson’s, really applies to every human on the planet. Scott is leveraging that message not only to support what we are doing, but to make his and others life better at the same time.


It really got me thinking, I was trying to make a specific connection for a specific goal. In the process, I lost sight of the most important thing … simply making a connection with friends, family, strangers can have a lasting impact … and not always the impact you had in mind!


Keep Moving! Keep sharing and making connections, you never know what it will mean to someone.

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