Coming Together in Charleston to Fox Trot 5K for Parkinson’s
After witnessing the successes of our members who led Fox Trot races across the country, Team Fox launched a do-it-yourself Fox Trot series in 2015. Now anyone can use their talents to customize and host a Fox Trot race in his or her hometown!
The Fox Trot for Parkinson's Research in Charleston, West Virginia, is one of many races that inspired the Fox Trot series. Hosted by longtime Team Fox member George Manahan, the Charleston Fox Trot has raised more than $70,000 for Parkinson's research since 2012. This year, the team aims to bring together hundreds of members of the PD community and raise $40,000.
Since the first race, many have lent their time and skills to support George and the Charleston Fox Trot — Connie Jones, Missy Spangler and James Strawn are a few of the people who come back each year. We asked them to answer a few questions about their involvement with the Fox Trot for Parkinson's Research.
Team Fox (TF): What inspired you to get involved with the Fox Trot for Parkinson's Research?
Connie: After I was diagnosed, I hid my right hand for the first two years. My husband Pat saw George on a local TV show speaking about the Fox Trot. It took some convincing from my family to join the walk, but I then decided to tell people that I have Parkinson's disease (PD). I now dedicate my life to raising awareness. Also, I do anything and everything in my power to raise money for research.
Missy: George posted on Facebook about this event, and a friend tagged me in it, knowing my connection with Team Fox. I didn't know George at all and I messaged him, I offered any help and guidance I could having a history with Team Fox and some past involvement through race participation.
James: When my dear friend George and founder of the Fox Trot communicated that he was diagnosed with Parkinson's. In our fourth year now, the event continues to grow in numbers and funds raised. And George continues to be the guiding light toward a cure for Parkinson's in our community.
TF: How many years have you been involved?
Connie: I've been involved with the Fox Trot every year since it was born in March 2012. The first year I had two weeks to raise money and form a team — I raised $3,000.00 and had 90 people walk with me. Team Momma Jones was born!
James: Since 2013. Not only through the Fox Trot, but George and Connie have become regular guests on our TV show to discuss fundraising events for MJFF.
TF: What's your favorite thing about this race?
Missy: My favorite thing is seriously the people. It has truly grown. Each year we reach new people who are associated with PD and we become even closer to those who come back and help with the race and participate. There is always this unspoken understanding between families who know what this disease has done and even without words, it's a sense of comfort. Just seeing everyone come together in honor of teams, friends, family makes it such an awesome day. I have truly grown to love these folks and consider them family. We've learned we can count on each other for anything — even if it's just a smile on a bad day. We have told each other multiple times, we may not enjoy the reason as to why we've been brought together, but it's one of the things I'm most thankful for along this journey.
Connie: My favorite thing about the Fox Trot is the fellowship. It's wonderful to see people living with PD, caregivers, families and friends interact with not just each other but with everyone. Some of us can no longer participate but refuse to let PD keep us from the race while encouraging the walkers and runners.
James: That look of hope and optimism in the eyes of the walkers/runners who have Parkinson's. It is a special day. The feeling of hope abounds in the air. It is genuine. I am a very optimistic person and this event truly inspires my soul.
The 2016 Charleston Fox Trot for Parkinson's Research will be held on Saturday, March 19 in conjunction with the Capitol Market Green Chili Shootout, one of the largest chili cookouts in the country.
Can't make this event? Join the Charleston Fox Trot virtual 5k or check "MJFF in your area" for a local Fox Trot race! And if you're interested in starting your own Fox Trot race, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll help you get started!
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