Day Fifty-Eight of Indian Ocean Row
Blog post from Robin
Social post – Robin: The reason for my involvement in this challenge remains the same. I feel privileged to be given the opportunity of a lifetime to do something good, to make a statement and help a greater and bigger cause. That cause is Parkinson’s.
The reason for my involvement in this challenge remains the same. I feel privileged to be given the opportunity of a lifetime to do something good, to make a statement and help a greater and bigger cause.
I feel that I have moved forward in a quest to find out more about Parkinson’s Disease, leaving me with hope that one day there will be a cure or prevention. The main goals for the challenge from my perspective were
– To help Oxford Brookes University with research into the condition;
– Raise awareness for Parkinson’s Disease, especially Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease
– Provide a real story for Parkinson’s,
– To raise funds for our three chosen charities who are small, remain very focused on their original goals, whose workforce are volunteer
– To break a world record. This would be fantastic and would definitely help to raise our media profile, but I have to say it’s somewhat of a lost cause scenario and not one of my personal goals.
We’ve certainly had our ups and downs and as the member of the team to be known as “Flexible” and “the fixer”, I’ve definitely be kept busy on the boat. Probably the biggest low for me and the rest of the crew was one month in, on my birthday – the 5thAugust, on that day we find our satellite communications go down. Salt water and electronics don’t make a good match. This believe it or not brought me to tears, not through fear as things were perfectly safe. But we have now lost the quality means of communications via to live chat broadcasts with TV, schools and loved ones. We no longer have the capability to send Internet photos or post pictures. We have a mobile sat phone for emergency use, but we knew our comms would be permanently hindered until we made land and a good Wifi.
I was hoping the challenge would provide me opportunity to clear and reboot my brain and possibly provide a more structure plan for the future. It has given me some thinking time but unfortunately there simply aren’t enough hours in the day for half of the things I wanted or even needed to do. Who would have thought it? What I have come to realise even more so than before, is that you have to make the best use of your time and abilities whilst you have them. I intend to make every effort to use this time wisely.
It confirms that I still have the ability to participate in prolonged physically and mentally challenging endeavours. It hasn’t all been roses though. The challenge has made me realise I have slowed down in many basic tasks. Getting dressed can and will become more difficult and this has been exaggerated by the confines of our living space.
My learning and processing speed is not what it used to be and the dexterity of my hand continues to deteriorate. Fortunately, this has been slow but there have been many occasions where I have been working on something and I have been forced to ask another member of the crew to be my hands as mine have become too shakey, not gripping or locking up. Unfortunately, this seems to be a glimpse into what the future has in store for me and I know it will undoubtedly get worse.
I should concentrate on what I can do and not on what I no longer am able to do. This challenge has made me even more determined to make the best use of my time, I want to have more family adventure with Nicola and Rory and also give myself some time to do the things that I want to do, make the effort and afford more time to see friends and family more regularly.
My rowing techniques still requires some improvement and at times I seem to be regressing to complete novice. I’m not sure if this is Parkinson’s or drug related or the cramps, aches and pains, exhaustion and lapse in concentration. This is very frustrating and I often feel like I’m letting the team down though they tell me I am not. However, I hope to soon be celebrating our achievement to cross the Indian ocean. I’ll be one of less than sixty people to have successfully completed this challenge. That’s sixty people full stop. Not sixty people this year, this week or the last decade, sixty people in total and I believe the world’s first person with Parkinson’s to do this.
Nearly ten times this many people have been into space and nearly 4 and a half thousand people have reached the summit of Everest, to put it into context.
A diagnosis such as Parkinson’s will undoubtedly change your life over time, but it doesn’t have to stop you living your life today. We may have to adjust our approach to the hurdles we have before us. But if we learn to adapt, accept our limitations, the diagnoses shouldn’t prevent us from reaching our goals.
This row has proved to me that we are all capable of amazing things, achieve what may appear to be impossible if we put our hearts and souls into it. I never dreamed I would or could untaken a challenge like this, I hope to inspire others to undertake their own challenges or overcome hurdles that hinder their progress. When you reach your goal, it will all be worth the effort.
There are those that say they can and those that say they can’t. I say YOU CAN achieve whatever you put your mind to.
Please help us raise funds for the three charities we have chosen to support. You can donate by visiting the website ior18.com