• Mary Kathleen Toner

Back In The Saddle

In 2019, the Functionize team raised donations for the Michael J. Fox Foundation's Tour de Fox, an annual ride to raise awareness and financial support for the cure for Parkinson's disease, or PD. We raised nearly $8,000 and placed 3rd in donations made! I still can't get over it!

The reason why we took this particular challenge on last year is because my dad has PD. You can read more about that in a previous blog I wrote called Parkinson's and Daughters. (I will warn you, it's a bit...bitter.)


Say it with me, you've heard this one before:

Due to COVID-19, we haven't been able to throw our all into supporting a charity or cause this year. Also due to COVID-19 (I think it's safe to assume pretty much every change this year is due to COVID-19), the Tour de Fox has been changed to a virtual ride. Hold your booing of the audience, though, because I do have some good news!


If you read the blog I mentioned above from last year, you'll know that my best friend and her family are like *the* elite TDF team. When her dad was diagnosed with PD, it didn't take long for the Rowlands to form a biker gang like you've never seen before. They raised over $100k last year...do you really think a little thing like a global pandemic is going to stop them from ::cue Freddie Mercury voice:: gettin' on their bikes and ridin'?!


If I meet my $5k goal I will do the entire ride dressed like this.


Of course not, dear reader(s).


Team Rowland is hosting their own TDF ride in Birmingham, AL, this October in real life and I am SO excited to join in the fun. It will be *so* easy for me to be socially distant at this event because I know good an well my butt will come in last place. You can bet on it!


No, seriously...you can actually put money on it because I would absolutely appreciate your support in whatever capacity you can give! If you'd like to donate, you can do so here, or you can Venmo me your donation ( @MaryKathleenB ) if that's easier and I'll add it! Every single cent goes straight towards finding a cure, so even just a few dollars can lead to a big change!


You know what else leads to a big change? A simple share on social media! The more people I can reach, the better chance we have to cure Parkinson's, and the longer I'll get to have my dad around. (That doesn't sound like super healthy logic, does it?)


The support we received last year impacted me emotionally in ways I still don't have words for. I met others with Parkinson's, others with loved ones who have been diagnosed, and people who just wanted to encourage us, well, just because! I received donations from family, friends, patients, strangers, past friends, ex boyfriends...each dollar and every single word of encouragement changed me for the better. If any of you are reading this, thank you so much. I wish I could better adequately describe what kind of change you ignited in me. I am so thankful.


We even had some friends who don't work at Functionize join the team and ride! It was such a crazy feeling to have that kind of encouragement on what was an incredibly emotional day for me. (If you're interested in riding with Team Rowland, you can reach out to me at marykathleen@functionizhealth.com!)

"Here. Until Parkinson's isn't."

This is The Michael J. Fox Foundation slogan, and it can also be applied to my annoying blog and social media posts. Please, help me not have to ride a bike at all next year. Help me not have to ask for donations next year! Help me put an end to this horrifying disease so no one else has to see a loved one diagnosed with Parkinson's.


Mary Kathleen is Functionize’s Social Media & Marketing Manager. She lives in Atlanta with husband Brian and their three furry children Cotton (pup), Burlap (pup), and Knuckles (kitty). She is the owner of Velvet & Vine Boutique.


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