The 10,000 Kettlebell Challenge

10,000 Kettlebells for Parkinsons Challenge

in support of The Dr. Ali Rajput Endowment for Parkinsons Disease
and Movement Disorders Research
(Royal University Hospital Foundation, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan)

“There’s not much going on in February, so why not do 10,000 kettlebells?”  This was the challenge tossed out by my brother Dave back in August, 2015.  Fitness challenges are nothing new to Dave, who maintains an active fitness routine as part of his ongoing military training.  My daughter Kristi and I (civilians) stay fairly active and we always look forward to something interesting and challenging when we get together with Dave’s family.  But that summer, as Kristi and I were groaning from a 200m x 12 interval run with Dave, he dropped the idea of the 10,000 kettlebells.
That’s interesting, but how does it connect to Parkinsons research, or to Dr. Rajput?  That is the backstory.

I (Richard) am the oldest of three children who were born and raised in Saskatchewan.  Dave is the youngest and we have a middle sister, Mary, who still lives near our Mom, Marilyn Scutt.  This story is really about Mom, not so much because she was diagnosed with Parkinsons Disease in January, 2006, but because of her valiant efforts to help the cause of Parkinsons research since then.  She was so impressed by both Drs. Rajput that she has committed to do what she can to support their work.

Mom has always been a selfless, giving person, but even as her Parkinsons disease has progressed, she has continued to give of herself.  One of her projects is “re-imagined” greeting cards.  Friends and community members drop off old cards, and she meticulously cuts and pastes them into new cards with her custom Made for Parkinsons by Marilyn label on the back.  Mom has set up her table at various community events around her home town in previous years and sells or even auctions off the cards to raise money for Parkinsons research. When we began the challenge back in 2015, she had raised about $3500 (since then, she has delivered more card money to Dr. Rajput, and she aims for around $1000 per year).

In addition to this, when she realized that Parkinson Society Saskatchewan had resource people who could facilitate support groups, she organized one in Moosomin.  That was in September, 2012.  Through this group, at least 13 individuals and their families have been able to share their experiences, hear from various speakers, and support one another.

In 2012, she wrote an essay about how Parkinsons Disease had affected her life and submitted it to a Parkinsons Society Saskatchewan contest.  Her essay was drawn and the prize was an expenses-paid trip to attend the World Parkinsons Conference in Montreal.  The whole experience was a wonderful highlight for her.

Although getting around safely is a growing challenge for her, she remains as active as she can, until recently participating in a community choir and providing occasional leadership in her home church.  When typing on her computer became difficult due to shaking hands, she eagerly latched onto the idea of voice-recognition software.  Her “Dragon” lets her simply speak and the computer writes down what she says.  What impressed me, aside from her willingness to try it in the first place, was the day she told me that she had just explained the whole Dragon thing to her doctor, who was also very impressed – and probably a bit jealous! She now uses an iPad and continues to experiment and learn new things!

The point of this story is that, even though Mom has Parkinson’s disease, she has not wavered in her effort to do what she can for others.  That is basically her legacy.  She has always done as much as she is able for others.  Because she can.

So. . . back to the kettlebells. The idea of doing 10,000 kettlebells in a one-month period is quite a physical challenge, but it is do-able.  And to have a project which can raise awareness about Parkinsons disease and provide a direct opportunity for people to financially support Parkinson’s research is definitely winning solution.  So why are we doing 10,000 kettlebells in February?  Because we can. Don’t panic – you don’t have to swing kettlebells to participate. You can choose to do ANYTHING that will improve your personal wellness.

Register here. And – again, if not sure you’re up for 10,000 kettlebells, don’t worry – there are LOTS of ways you can participate.  Because you can.