Thursday, February 14, 2013

Life Is Too Short

I realize it's been several months since I blogged about be honest....I gave up on it.  Mainly because I was so busy with work, training for the marathon, etc.....
Also, I wasn't sure if anyone was reading it...
Sound stupid since I've almost achieved 10,000 page views...
Ok, so it's Valentine's Day....I'm having a glass of wine...ALONE....however, today taught me a lot
I met a fellow Parkinson's Friend, Shields Jarrett, for lunch...
This was probably our 4th or 5th lunch..and it seems as if we talk about the same things...but not this time...
Shields is probably twice my age....maybe younger, but we both have Parkinson's...
Two guys, same disease, totally different symptoms.
He has trouble walking, mainly because he has foot problem, and PD has taken away his ability to move normally....
He doesn't tremor much at all.....
Me, however, both of my hands shake....I have no problem moving, maybe because I run everyday..
However, I have bad nightmares every night, and I have also started hallucinating...
I laughed at a Parkinson's specialist 1 year ago when she asked if I saw things that "really weren't there"....yet, now I know why she asked that...
I see things...when I'm driving...when I'm watching tv...when I'm working out...when I'm running....out of the corner of my eye...
It scares me....just for a second....until I realize that I AM HALLUCINATING!
I was a bit saddened when Shields was upset that I admitted this to him.  I also told him that my legs have been aching at night when I sleep.  I told him it was probably because I've been running so much lately (78 miles ran so far this year/goal is to run 1,000)...
I could tell he was upset....and I have to admit...I've been a bit down myself....
While it's a great thing I haven't had to take any Parkinson's medication at all since October, the disease itself is unavoidable.
I can feel it slowly, day by day, trying to take over my body....
I think that's why I run at least 2 miles everyday...because that's my time to tell Parkinson's and my body know what...NOT're not going to win today...
I encourage my fellow Parkinson's friends like Shields...everyday...EXERCISE....
Life Is Too Short to sit around and let this disease win....
Right now, at this very moment, Parkinson's Disease is going to defeat everyone, only because there isn't a cure....
But, no one said we couldn't fight against it with exercising and working out our muscles....inevitably thats what PD is trying to do to our wants to control and ruin our muscle movement...
Well I say "GOOD LUCK PD"....because you're gonna have to put up one hell of a fight with me to do that....
It would be easy for me to do the obvious, sit around and feel sorry for myself, or not exercise...
But dang is just too damn short to do that...
So...I'm gonna enjoy a few glasses of wine tonight and be happy...because that's what life is all about!

Always Keep Smiling!


Monday, November 26, 2012

Do you look at what you have....or what you don't have?

Well it's been over 4 months since my last post....mainly because during that time I was training for the most difficult accomplishment of my life:  running the NYC marathon.  For those 18 weeks of training, running every day, eating so healthy it would've made a Vegan jealous, and completely changing my lifestyle, I was so excited to run that race.  Sadly, as everyone knows, Hurricane Sandy ran a muck of the NY and New Jersey area.  While I was extremely grateful that I no longer lived up there (Hoboken was completely flooded for 2 weeks), I was very saddened by the devastation that took place up there.  Millions lost power, thousands lost homes, and hundreds of people lost their lives.  It's still hard to imagine how powerful that storm was.  In the midst of all the tragedy, I was beyond upset that Mayor Bloomberg was still going to allow the NYC marathon to be ran.  I sat at home Friday morning (November 2nd) with my brother, who was going up with me for the race, and I had 5 very dear friends from Jersey reach out to me.  One by one, they all gave me an idea of "how bad it really was" up there, despite what the media was showing on TV.  As I listened to everything they said, one phone call convinced me that deciding not to run was the right thing to do.  My old boss, Tom Lunsmann called early that morning to ask me what my plans were.  At the time, I had planned to still drive up and run the marathon.....besides I had logged over 700 miles of running in 18 weeks....
Tom had this to say to me:  "Dude, you cannot come up here and run.  You have no idea how bad it really is up here.  They're still finding bodies over in Staten Island (where the first several miles of the race begins at).  Hundreds of families have lost everything they are you going to have a smile on your face and run by them.  This isn't what you've been training for.  This isn't the way you want to experience the NYC Marathon.  What you're doing is very inspiring to a lot of people, but what's going on up here will take that away from you."
I took some time that morning to really think hard about my decision.  After all, I had been all over the news in the Roanoke area because of what I was doing.  Hundreds of people came out to the TEAM FOX fundraiser that myself and Erika Hayden put on.  We raised over $5,500 dollars for the Michael J. Fox Foundation.  The entire Parkinson's community in Roanoke showed me tons of support for what I was going to accomplish.  At our last support group meeting, many of them came up to me with the biggest smile on their face, happy that I was going to show the world that even though I was 29, living with Parkinson's, I could still do something that I was told I could never do.
For the first time in my life, I really felt like I was going to do something that would prove to myself, my fellow PD'ers, doctors, and all my supporters that just because I don't have the same abilities or body function that I used to before my diagnosis.........I still had my heart. 
As painful as it was for me, that  Friday, at 1:22pm, I posted an email and message, stating that I had chosen not to participate in the marathon.  It just didn't seem right.  With everything that was going on up in New York, my heart told me that running was the wrong thing to do.
The next week, I would field dozens and dozens of phone calls, many emails, and lots of sorrow from all those that supported me during my training.  All were saddened about the marathon being cancelled.  I gave them all the same response...."hey, there's always next year."
I had dreamed for months about the feeling of crossing that finish line.....thousands cheering emotional it was going to be.....night after night I couldn't sleep.  And now, I don't have that experience....I don't have a medal....I didn't get to hear Michael J. Fox speak at our Team dinner....I didn't get to party with the 170 fellow TEAM FOX marathon runners....I didn't get to proudly wear my TEAM FOX jersey and run for the Parkinson's Community..... know what......I still have my heart.....I still have a smile on my face.....and like I told everyone...."hey, I get to do this all over again next year!"

Always Keep Smiling

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Why banning guns makes NO sense

Over the past few days, I have been in a huge debocle over what has happened in Aurora, Colorado.  My heart goes out to all the family and friends who lost loved ones during the horrific tragedy that occurred at the movie theatre.  Words will never be able to express my sorrow for what has happened....
The knee-jerk reaction from many people regarding gun control has been very disappointing as well.  Yes, it is unbelievable to imagine all the ammo and guns that the killer had in his possession and at his apartment.  Does this mean that because of one person that we should look at banning gun control or making it more difficult to own a gun?  The answer is very simple:  NO!
Can you imagine what this world would  be like if the only people allowed to have/own guns was the government and the military?  Forget the scare of socialism.....we would have no freedom!
Did you realize that 57% of the United States population owns a gun.....take a WILD guess what would happen if the government started busting down doors of those who own guns and tried taking them away?
For all you that question gun control, think of this....4% of all deaths in this world are alcohol related.  Would you like to take a guess on what the percentage is for gun related deaths.....LESS THAN .5%!  So that means that alcohol is responsibile for nearly 8 times as many deaths as guns....
Does that mean that we should put a ban on alcohol too?
I lost a girlfriend to a drunk driver over 2 years ago, but I am not the type of person to go off on how alcohol should be banned from the U.S.
It is truly sad that massacres still happen like this in the country....but guns aren't the reason this happens.  Its the bullying at's being neglected by the's being teased on the school bus and in the hallways....after all that  build up of frustration and hate, THAT'S what causes tragedies like what happened in Colorado.
The question isn't about gun's about one simple thing....where were the parents?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Since when is it okay to rape.....

It's been a few weeks since I've gotten a chance to blog.  I've been extremely busy getting ready for the New York City Marathon and fundraising for TEAM Fox.  However, I've been very bothered for the past few days regarding a subject that continues to just get aggrivating.  By now, everyone knows about the scandal at Penn State, and the conviction of child molestation by that MONSTER Jerry Sandusky.  (FYI to really punish him they should've put him in an all woman's jail).  If you never got the chance to read the grand jury report from 2001, I suggest you google it.  ALL OF THIS HAPPENED 11 YEARS AGO, AND A JURY THREW THE CASE OUT!!!  The President, AD, and Joe Paterno from Penn State covered up evidence that could've put that man behind bars YEARS AGO.  Instead, "to protect the university from bad publicity", those men held information from authorities, which in turn allowed Sandusky to continue raping young boys for another decade.  Can you believe that?  They lied about what they knew so that Penn State wouldn't receive bad publicity!  Who knows how many kids were raped during those next 10 years?  Just imagine what those kids lives are going to be like.....
They are going to have SERIOUS mental and emotional problems forever.....and the humiliation those 8 brave kids had to endure as they took the stand and had to tell their stories about being molested. 
What really upsets me is all the talk about people trying to defend Joe Paterno!  Really??  He was just a football coach!  Not only that, he contributed to dozens and dozens of more kids being raped.  Oh yea, some role model he is.......
Penn State has also decided to leave his statue up on campus!!!!  Do they not understand what that statue now represents??  Yes it used to be a replication of a great man that did wonders for the Penn State football program and the university.  Not anymore!  It stands for another MONSTER that lied and was decietful to us all.  He could've stopped all of this from happening back in 1998, but instead chose to ignore the situation.  You Penn State football fans that defend Paterno have some SERIOUS issues!  Since when did college football "trump" the lives of so many kids and their families who are going to suffer for the rest of their lives.  All you fans that worship his statue and that stood behind him since he was fired on November 6th are CRAZY!  You are choosing to defend a man who contributed to the rape of atleast 15 kids in 10 years......just imagine if that happened to YOU or YOUR CHILD!  Then where would you stand?

Tear that statue down.....erase his name from that University and ever single college football record book and statistic.  Joe Paterno was just as big of a monster as Jerry Sandusky......

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Only 1 life to live

I know the subject of this blog is pretty cliche.....and while I find myself reminding others everyday that we "only have 1 life to live", I was reminded last night by a stranger that the same rings true for me.  Last night I had my book signing at the Barnes & Noble in Roanoke, and a person by the name of David R. Friend (I swear that's his real name) came up to my table and started talking to me.  It didn't take me but a few moments to realize that he and I shared something in common:  Parkinson's Disease.  While this wasn't the first thought in my head about this man (especially since he was talking a tad loud lol) it did open my eyes and heart to him, since I know how difficult it is for people to live with PD.  He and I talked for about 15 minutes, except we weren't talking about my book, or PD, or even life.  Instead, he shared with me a few stories about 2 movies that he had recently watched.  The movies, and what they are about are irrelevant, but he told me the purpose of explaining to me what the movies were about is due to the fact that he thinks my story should be pitched to movie directors......

To be nice to the guy, I just kept nodding my head and saying how great it would be to have my story as part of a movie, but I also told him that it really wasn't realistic.  Instead of accepting his advice, I was trying to convince him of all the reasons why it would never happen....."oh it would cost a ton of money to do that........I am just a kid from small town Kentucky.........there's really not much of a story here for a movie......"

Finally I stopped myself realizing that everything I was saying contradicted what I had just written a book about....positivity and perseverance. 

Mr. Friend went on to tell me about the two producers that made the movies, which are now blockbuster hits, and also told me that none of the actors were professional.  Both movies and directors just happened to be a part of the same church.  What started out as a vision, they turned it from a dream to reality.  He was telling me story after story about people he had encountered that had turned their hopes and dreams into something great.  He wouldn't leave until I had all the information to contact these producers, which I have and am debating on doing.

He said, "David, you've come this far already.....a few pages that you were typing months ago is now a published book.  You only have 1 life to live......and you are going against everything you say if you don't atleast try and pursue this."

Who know's what would happen, but it was great to hear someone give me advice that I have shared with others over the past year.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Even the Blind can Dance

As I sit here tonight watching a movie that I have seen over 100 times, there is a scene in this movie that moves me everytime....every time.  "Scent of a Woman" which is one of my favorite movies, not just because it has one of my favorite actors "Al Pacino" in it, but it has one of the greatest scenes in a movie.  For those of you who haven't seen the movie, Al Pacino plays a character that is permanently blind from war, and it has to be one of the greatest characters he has ever played.  There is a scene in the movie where he offers to "tango" with a beautiful lady during a dinner.  It may sound sappy, or to others, even silly, but the scene to me is absolutely moving.  Al Pacino's ability to draw you completely into his character, to even get you to imagine what it would be like to be blind, is nothing more than UNBELIEVABLE.  Watching him "tango" with the young lady for over 3 minutes is moving.  He truly brings you in to wonder, "could I do this if I were blind?"....

It really makes you think.....
For those who love to dream....or even imagine..."what if".....
"What if I were blind"....

Just being able to "see" is just a natural thing....but "what if" that was taken away from you.....

What would you do?....
I'd like to think that one day I would be as strong as the character Al Pacino plays in "Scent of a Woman"

Always Keep Smiling!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My Dad's awakening......Cancer....

I had an absolute blast this weekend with my brother, Clint and my father, Robert, at Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia.  We had so much fun, doing everything from going out to dinner to even playing games at a local arcade.  It was great to see how much fun we all had, but especially for my Dad.  The past 6 years have been a rough ride for him, to say the least.  Not only did he have a long battle with depression because of being diagnosed with Parkinson's, he recently went through an extremely difficult time with Melanoma (skin cancer), or so we thought.  My Dad had been to see a dermatologist a few months ago because of a few discolored spots on his forehead and arm.  While the ones on his forehead were harmless, the spot on his arm resembled the exact image of a melanoma cancer spot.  I remember being home the last weekend of April, when Dad was still waiting for the test results on whether or not he had cancer; while he tried to reassure me he was positive, I could tell he was scared......who wouldn't be?
Thank God the results came back negative, but apparently during those weeks of waiting, and after hearing his test results, Dad had an "awakening".  I know this because he told Clint and me about 50 times over the past 4 days!!!
Now I am sure that many of you have had a parent, friend, cousin, etc. that went through something very similar.  It's almost impossible to even imagine how they are feeling.
But I have to say, it was really admiring hearing how positive and passionate my Dad is, especially after knowing that he is cancer free.  I could just hear in his voice how he was going to start living life differently and wasn't going to let anything hold him back.
I witnessed this first hand, just from the way he was walking.  With Dad's type of Parkinson's, he suffers from "gait" which is where he drags his right leg.  For years it has been very difficult for him to walk from his bedroom to the kitchen.  But, with his new "awakening", he has now lost weight, weighing less than he has in 20 years, and has been walking 3 miles everyday for the past couple of weeks! 
It's truly inspiring when we convince our mind and bodies that we can do whatever we want!

Always Keep Smiling! 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Fatty foods, fireworks, a few beers, and fun = Memorial Day Weekend....but a tragedy has struck

I hadn't planned on writing a blog today, but I'm in such a great mood, that I thought I would write a few sentences.  Plus, I'm sitting at my new kitchen table watching UFC fights while my Dad, and my two dogs (Maddie & Saytii) are snoring away like crazy, so it's left me with realizing THATS what this weekend is all about.  The perfect time of year when the wearther is awesome (well it was 91 degrees here in Moneta....a TAD toooooo hot), family and friends get together to grill out, bust out the swimming pools, get out the fishing rods, break out the fireworks, and crack open a cold one (diet coke for those of you who don't drink).  I'm feeling at great peace, knowing that my brother will be here in a few hours from New Jersey, and glad that my special lady ;) Joana landed safely in Romania a little earlier.  Glad my sister and brother in law are having a blast with my niece Natalie.  Yes, it all seems that life couldn't be better, right?.....
Last night I received a phone call from my brother in law (Steve) that a terrible incident occured in Fayetteville, North Carolina yesterday that saddened both of us.  We both worked for the Fayetteville SwampDogs in 2004 and 2005, which is an amateur baseball team located in the heart of NC.  While we both have mixed feelings about the time we spent there, 2 men that we were very close with there are battling for their lives right now.  Coach/Owner, Darrell Handlesman & Operations Manager, Mark Wilderman were involved in a gas leak explosion at the SwampDogs stadium Thursday morning.  Both are still in "serious condition" at UNC Hospital. 
Now, I've always been a firm believer in keeping personal lives off of facebook, blogs, twitter, etc....but this has become national news.
Darrell and Mark were very good friends of mine, and I ask all of you to say a prayer for them both, and especially their families during this very difficult time. 

Please everyone have a great Memorial Day Weekend, but please be SAFE!

Always Keep Smiling!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Young man fighting Parkinson's to be featured on CBS


Roanoke, VA - It's been over a year since David Chedester began taking medicine for a disease he should've never seen coming, especially because of his age.  But now, he is faced with the reality that his condition will progressively get worse every day, although his medicine allows him to function normally.  Diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease before his 28th birthday, David now has become a very important, national statistic for a disease that is extremely rare.  As his story continues to spread throughout the country, he has taken on a new role of being a spokesperson for younger adults that are suffering from any disease.  He has already made several TV appearances which include FOX and ABC news, as well as local TV show "Living in the Heart of Virginia".  Tomorrow, he will be featured on WDBJ Channel 7 news, the CBS affiliate out of Roanoke. 
"I think it's important for people to see that even after receiving news, like being diagnosed with PD, that's it's still okay to face it head on.  I remember watching 50 to 60 youtube videos of Michael J. Fox and Muhammed Ali, hoping to find inspiration from them."

And, that's exactly what happened.

David has since published a book, "Shakin' Not Stirred (finding perseverance through Parkinson's)" in which he shares his story from devastation to perseverance. 

Chedester said this is just the beginning for what he hopes continues to be a long road to travel, but with a cure for Parkinson's disease waiting at the finish line.

Speaking of, David has been granted the opportunity to run the New York City Marathon as a part of TEAM FOX this year.  Once he crosses the finish line, at the age of 29, David will be the youngest person in the world to run a marathon as a patient with Parkinson's Disease.

"I've dreamed about this opportunity since I was diagnosed.  To be able to claim you were the "First" to do anything in this world is quite an accomplishment.  But, I am not doing this for me.....I am doing it to show the world that our tiny Parkinson's community can still accomplish anything we set our minds to.  I know it sounds very cliche, but sometimes the finish line needs to be moved."

David will be featured on Channel 7 WDBJ Morning News tomorrow at 8 am.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Inside Punch: First Amputee MMA Fighter Shea Taylor...

I am so proud of one of my life long best friends, Shea Taylor.  He is a true inspiration to me.....

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Fox News Interview airs Monday

I just wanted to let everyone know that my interview with Becky Freemal from Fox airs on Monday, May 14th.  I think that it will air during the 5, 6, and 7 o'clock news, but I am not for sure.  I hope that everyone enjoys the interview.  I really want to thank Becky and her husband for being extremely professional and allowing me to show how positive I am.  It is very important for me to show not things that Parkinson's doesn't allow me to do, but to show the world I can still live a normal life, even with PD.  It's not about what we can't do, it's about what we can do.  I also want to thank Lisa from Living in the Heart of Virginia for a wonderful interview as well. 
Just a few bits of information, the blog has amassed over 5,000 hits!!!  Big shout out to those in Russia, the United Kingdom, and Canada for your support!
Also, I will be featured on CBS news next week as well, and will keep everyone posted as to when that interview will air.

Finally, please spread the word about my 2nd TEAM FOX event at the Valleyview Barnes & Noble in Roanoke Virginia.  This will be my 2nd book signing, and will be on June 15th from 6pm-9pm.  Even if you're in the area and have already purchased a book, please come by to show your support.  Members of TEAM FOX will be in attendance and we will be taking photos to post on website!

Keep smiling everybody!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Local Celebrity David Chedester brings TEAM FOX to Roanoke, Virginia!

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Local Author Week! Meet David Chedester!

Author Event
Meet David signing copies of his book Shakin' Not Stirred from 6:00 to 9:00 pm. Diagnosed with Parkinson's disease at age 26, David has taken misfortune and turned it into an opportunity to help others by raising money for the Team Fox foundation.
Friday June 15, 2012 6:00 PM

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