Bret Parker

Over ten years ago, at the age of 38, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease — a chronic, degenerative neurological disorder. It was shocking. Married with two young kids, I had no idea how long I would feel healthy enough even to work. I kept it secret until I “outed” myself in a blog on the Forbes website in 2012 http://www.forbes.com/sites/randalllane/2012/03/12/the-last-workplace-secret/.

Fast forward and today, at 49 years old, I’m on the Patient Council of the Michael J. Fox Foundation and have done the best I can to raise awareness and funds for research through various runs (including a marathon), a skydive, a triathlon and a mountain climb. My friends, family and co-workers have been insanely generous and supportive, but the 10th anniversary of my diagnosis seems to call for something bigger. So in January 2018, I’ll be part of this group participating in the World Marathon Challenge. This will not be easy. It will take almost a year to train. My symptoms (tremors, rigidity, foot cramps and fatigue to name just a few) will try to get in the way. French fries, cookies and pizza will try to stop me. I won’t let them, but I need your help. This is the largest fundraising goal I’ve set so far and I appreciate everything you can do to support this effort and spread the word.

There is no known cure for Parkinson’s disease. But with your support of The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, they can accelerate high-impact science through smart risk-taking and problem-solving with a commitment to urgency and efficiency. There are five million people worldwide are living with Parkinson’s disease. I’m only one of them, but with your help perhaps we can find better treatments and a cure. From the bottom of my heart, thanks so much!

Bret is Executive Director of the New York City Bar Association. He attended the University of Pennsylvania and Fordham University School of Law. Since becoming an attorney over 20 years ago, he has worked in private practice and at various companies (including Elizabeth Arden and Colgate-Palmolive). Bret and his wife, Katharine, a federal judge, have two amazing sons, Matt and Ben.