Friday, February 14, 2014

The Next Challenge

The Next Challenge:
 
Sometimes not knowing how to get through something leads you to do something amazing…to challenge yourself…and to do great things that you never thought you’d be able to do before.
 
2014 will begin the first year I have to conquer without my dad.  I was that little girl who sat on top of his foot when he had to leave to go somewhere screeching that I was going with him.  I was that little girl standing alongside the sidelines of sport practices/games repeating everything he was yelling at his players.  I was that girl who had the basketball shooting form just like her dad.  I was that girl that went to college and played sports…just like her dad.  I was that girl who was inducted into the Mid-Ohio Valley Hall of Fame…….just like her dad.  I’ve followed in my dad’s footsteps for so long; I’m not sure where to go now that he’s gone. You see I lost my dad November 30th, 2013 to Parkinson’s disease.  A disease that took the toughest, strongest, most inspirational man I knew too early.  
 
Through Team Fox I have developed a 2nd family.  I have to say, it’s a pretty awesome family.  They will convince you to just about do anything (trust me they are good), and you’ll have more support than you ever knew you’d need. 
 
I have ran the Vancouver Marathon and the NYC Marathon in 2013 for Team Fox and now I am beyond excited for this new challenge for 2014 to continue my dad’s legacy and fight to find a cure for Parkinson’s Disease.
 
The Next Challenge:
Grand Canyon Challenge…… hiking 24 miles and 6,000 vertical feet Rim to Rim of the Grand Canyon in one day.  May 18th.   People ask if I’m crazy.  I’ve started to debate how to actually answer that because the no limits attitude I feel with Team Fox may have highlighted this characteristic within me.  



Our donation website we will be utilizing for Team Spangler this year is:

 
The best part about this journey this year is I will have my fiancĂ© joining me in this challenge, through my struggle with my dad’s illness he has been right there beside me and we are doing this together for him and our Team Fox Family.  


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A New Battle Against Parkinson's Disease

Well…I promised myself I’d do better at blogging as part of my New Year’s Resolutions with everything that has gone on …..Well, here it is January 28th and I’m just now doing a new blog entry…I hope better late than never.  I have so many reasons to keep this blog going, and I want to do better at it.  I’ve found every excuse in the book to stop typing on many days once the words started to become difficult to type.
 
Truth be told, I’ve started the blog post a few times…got past the first sentence and had too many tears in my eyes to want to continue the typing.  I realize everything is going to be a process…but it’s a “process” I don’t want to accept.  I ran across this Michael J Fox quote yesterday, “Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation; it means understanding that something is what it is and there’s got to be a way through it  I’d ran across that quote before during the struggle of dad’s fight with Parkinson’s…accepting the diagnoses and finding a way through it…. Now the struggle is accepting the passing of my father and finding a way through it.  For those of you whom may not know, my father passed away losing his battle to Parkinson’s Disease on November 30th. 
 


That’s the day I wanted to scream, punch, yell, and kick a lot of people for no apparent reason (well a few can cross my mind can be for apparent reasons).  I suppose years of frustration was releasing itself at the question of “why”….why do bad things happen to good people, and so many bad people are “fine”.   I’m not turning it into a judgment statement, I’m just purely expressing my frustration at this god awful disease that took the life of my father entirely too early.  I still had so many things I wanted to share with him, to show him, to do for him, and get through this battle together.  There had been moments of being scared before for example, when dad got phenomena and we just “weren’t sure” he would be able to push through, and I just kept thinking…this is one of those moments, it isn’t real….he’s fought this too long, there can’t be an end!  I felt like a zombie ….it just didn’t seem “real”.  To be honest it still doesn’t seem “real”.  The outpour of support was more helpful than I could ever express.  Knowing how many people you are surrounded by during a difficult time helps with the “process” as it’s referred to.  Just knowing dad touched so many lives, influenced so many people, and hearing all the stories helps make the awful days easier.  Everything does happen for a reason, and I’m blessed to know those reasons have led me exactly where I am now.
 
At dad’s services I just kept feeling like everything was “OK”, different, but “OK”…it was a celebration of dad no longer suffering but giving a chance for so many to come together.  Many I hadn’t seen in years.  Everyone was telling stories, funny things, hilarious moments, laughs, (stories I probably wasn’t allowed to know as a kid have now surfaced to share a few good adult laughs) and so forth that it was ok to be happy he was no longer suffering.  God knows I missed him being there, but it was “OK”….

We had asked people (mom’s idea) to wear a shirt that may have been related to a memory they had with dad, shared in common with dad, etc.  It turned out better than we had expected, and a fun idea!  Many were in “Team Spangler” shirts, a shirt we created a few years back when we started to be very active in Team Fox and the activities we do raising money for Parkinson’s Disease Research fighting for dad.  Many wore their Sunday FunDay 5K shirts from this past year’s first 5K we hosted raising money for Parkinson’s Research. Dad coached many sports teams, different sports, different schools, different areas, teams, you name it, he probably tried it out at some point.  The cutest thing was a friend wore a Pennsboro High School jersey his dad wore when he played for my dad.  We got a good laugh now with curiosity how his dad could fit in it, but it was so neat to see.  One of dad’s former runners wore a shirt dad had wrote his “motivation” on for her, that she still had.  Many of dad’s friends from high school/college wore their Sherman Tide Pride and Glenville State pride.  It was so nice to see all of them there, and to meet several I’d never gotten to meet before.  But I assured them I had some good stories on them. 


 
I never want to feel “needy”…nor will I ever probably admit I need anything.  I am so fortunate to have surrounded myself in my life with the people I have.  I have friends I know I can count on without even having to ask (that’s a good thing, because I’m not good at asking).  Some were there all along helping pull together details to make dad’s Celebration of Life perfect. I had folks from my new job come, high school friends, and so many others that I know traveled a good ways, and gave up time in their day to stop, send notes, sends messages, cards, food, supplies and I just can’t express how much that means..  I was surrounded with surprises from New Jersey and Pittsburgh (might I add, It truly got a smile out of me that the baby wore the camo outfit I got as a joke for the “city” baby, in case he ever needed to come to WV) J to be there for me, and one who is horrible at keeping secrets and pulled a surprise coming from Dayton even wearing WV gear.  I am surrounded by an extended family thanks to Brock that has always been there and supported me through this journey.  Best of all I get to stand next to the best guy a girl could ask for.  Given, there are moments I am sure he’s clueless how to deal with me, I am too independent sometimes to a point I’m not good at allowing myself to need anyone, and he knows how to cross that boundary through my stubbornness and be everything I need him to be.  He has had some pretty high standards set to live up to as an example set by my dad, and I laugh at many moments at how much he reminds me of him, especially the food………ok..a lot with food. J
 
I have been in debate at what I want to do this year to honor my dad, and continue the fight against Parkinson’s Disease.  My dad has created a legacy and it is up to us to carry it on, influence others, motivate others, and continue to do amazing things.  I have really really really really (do you get the idea?) been debating doing the Rim to Rim challenge with Team Fox at the Grand Canyon…it has just really been on my mind.  My dad always wanted to go to the Grand Canyon and it just seems fitting.  I’m just debating if all my dreams and “to dos” are a little “irresponsible” financially with everything else I have planned to do this year. (Not to burst another blog entry sometime, but a wedding will be happening this year)  Mom and I will be making another trip to NYC this year for the Team Fox MVP dinner and get to spend an awesome weekend with our Team Fox Family after a difficult year; I think it’s important to surround ourselves with a reminder of what we are all about.  I’m still going to let myself debate it out a little bit, but maybe the Grand Canyon is still an option.  We will definitely be hosting our “2nd” annual Sunday Fun Day event this year again for Team Fox and hoping to make it 100 times bigger than last year.  We also will be joining in on The Fox Trot to be held in March Here in Charleston again that has been a huge asset to Team Fox thanks to another Parkinson’s friend.
 
I promise to keep better with the blogging, this was probably just the hardest one I Needed to get out there….I will often reflect on this more I’m sure….but “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”…and sometimes the first step is the toughest.
 
Thanks for all your support….we are going to make 2014 an amazing year! 


Friday, August 9, 2013

What is 26.2 miles?

Well for starters it’s a long ways to run!

 

I’m not really sure I ever thought I would know the answer to that question.  Midway through the actual marathon around mile 18 I was debating if I would ever know the answer to that question.

 

Accomplishing something is almost like an addiction.  The last 7 miles of the marathon I’m not going to lie, my legs were non stop spasms, something I’m certain I’ve never felt to that degree before.  I almost hate to admit I walked some (my competitive nature in me cringes just typing that)…but it was either pull something or get through this race.  I realized given about mile 22….this wasn’t a race….for the first time in my life I accepted that.  This was so much more than a race and it wasn’t my mental toughness that got me through this athletic event…it was everything leading up to this point and the reason why I was doing it.  After crossing that finish line of the Vancouver Marathon there was obviously relief that I was finished, but there was that satisfaction of accomplishment and a purpose of not just me but my dad, my fellow Team Fox Family, and the people I’ve come to know along the way. 



I was thinking ok now I’ve done this…it’s off that list I created some time or another of things to do in life…. Instead though....I had this crazy desire (let’s be honest here…it’s pure craziness)….let’s go through all this again!  So….one of my crazier decision in life….Adding another marathon to that list in life and I’m back to NYC (hopefully this time to actually RUN the marathon).

 

I know I’ve been a little MIA on this blog, and for that I apologize.  I’ve got so much to catch everyone up on, and I’ll get to work on that right away…a little bit at a time of course.

 

Vancouver was one of the best trips I’ve ever taken. It was beyond beautiful and the company was top notch.  I am certain I had the best support group specialists there as Susie had knew the course better than most and those bikes were pretty fast (which I really should have borrowed for a little while!)  I have to tease, there was a trick to what I thought was the end of the race when Power Bar had a large blow up arch to run through…and the crowds were packed at that point and I was thinking I’M DONE!!!!!!.... (no I wasn’t)….. thankfully Team Fox’s crowd wasn’t too far away from that moment and I heard their cheers to push a little further….that may have been one of the longest straight aways I’ve ran….I never thought I’d get there after thinking I’d surpassed the finish line mentally.


Team Fox Girls Running the Marathon

Several of the “elite” athletes dropped out due to (surprisingly) warm weather (For Vancouver), but for me it was perfect….apparently for them it was too hot or not what they were expecting.  So I can pretend for a little while I could handle it when they couldn’t.  We were lucky for Vancouver weather given the time of year and the warm front…but it made the trip even better!



One thing I wasn’t thinking on which was a little humorous to me was that in Canada (which deep down I knew this, just wasn’t thinking) everything is in kilometers and Celsius.  So during the marathon all the KM were marked and it would buy me some time to side track myself with doing the calculations of how many miles that was (later in the race they had it marked in miles as well).  When people would talk about the temperatures I would be puzzled till I recalled yet again….it’s Celsius…not Fahrenheit.  Susie and Mark even trusted us with their car and at moments I was puzzled at how fast were we actually going!?  (Don’t worry Susie…it wasn’t fast!) 

 

So…. Now that the NYC Marathon is creeping up FAST…..I reflect on just how awesome of an experience it was and how 5 years ago I really don’t think I’d be where I was with the acceptance of Parkinson’s Disease and what it’s done to our family.  Being bitter isn’t going to make any of it go away, or make it any better….so I will continue to take it in stride, and for now I will focus on that stride getting me to the finish line while making a difference at the same time. 


(Texting everyone that I'm alive and finished) 


And I have to thank Brock for staying on board of a my adventures I come up with.... He's learn to listen well at "what we are doing" instead of me usually asking if its ok :-)  but to my defense..... The landscape scenery isn't all that bad :-)



Thursday, April 11, 2013

Orange City Lights...Big City

Orange City Lights…Big City

I’ve always loved to travel….just say the word and I’m working on a way to make it happen J  Team Fox Hosts a MVP Dinner each year in the city that never sleeps….the big apple…you know..New York City!!!! 
With the help of everyone last year and our fundraising level we achieved (which may I remind you was $10,801) we received an invite to this event to be held at Gotham Hall.  At first I was hesitant at going (only because I felt it might be “irresponsible” due to the Vancouver trip coming up quickly)….. BUT….I told mom if she would go I would go (and the help of peer pressure from some of her friends)….  I think it’s important to stay surrounded by this group that have become more like an extended family to us over the past year and surrounded by others who care as much about Parkinsons Disease as we do.
We leave bright and early tomorrow morning to arrive hopefully in time to make the Research Round Table they host with the dinner tomorrow evening at 6:30 (with Yes Michael J. Fox himself there) for those who have asked me J  I watched a video of last year’s dinner (Primarily because I was having a slight girl moment realizing I need to know “what to wear”)  He ended his speech with something that quite frankly brings a few tears to my eyes….  “When leaving tonight look up at the Empire State Building you’ll see our colors up there….and I’ll always keep looking up”…..  For many of you…you may realize that is the title of one of his books….but to many always looking up means so much to where this foundation has gotten all of us.
Here is a link to the video if you'd like to see click... MVP Dinner
You see, in honor of Michael J Fox Foundation and the City of New York (which I’m assuming and hoping it will be the same) the Empire State Building shines “orange” honoring the colors of the foundation…..and it serves as a good reason for us all to keep looking up…..
I hope so much not only for my dad but for so many others we find a cure for this disease, we find a reason, and we find understanding…because there will be a room full of people there that I know now will make that happen and I can’t wait to share the night with them and my mom who has been the biggest fighter for my dad….So NYC watch out…you’ve got a amazing group coming to town!

 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

I Challenge You.......

I challenge you……

I need some help….what’s new right?..... 
I want to truly take advantage of April being Parkinson’s Awareness month….  I feel like I want to slip on my headphones like I use to before a game….a race…click on some crazy fast pace music to round up the motivation and get the blood flowing…. (I think quickly followed though with me was the urge to want to throw up because my nerves would spike….but we’ll leave that part out for this) J  Should I insert a little Rock Theme music here to help get you ready to want to help or can you just play the tune yourself in your head and create the urge to do something?
Ok…just in case you aren’t good at imagining things…..Rocky Theme Music  (Click on the link)
We’ve discussed this many times, but Parkinson’s is a bit of a hidden disease.  Many who have it don’t really know how to talk about, many may live in a quiet world of confusion because they don’t really know where to turn for guidance, help, advice etc. Many “early signs” of Parkinson’s aren't that noticeable so they think it’s ok to hide it for awhile and just “get by”.  I think with us living in a more rural area the diagnoses and cases of Parkinson’s are spread out more…. so the larger cities have that opportunity of support groups or opportunities to seek out for help with the disease a little more with “numbers”.  Many may just need a little info to know they have somewhere to turn to.  This is what I need some help with from you….. Many may work in an office setting, retail location, restaurant, or even have a social media opportunity to help us. 
What if you could just take one day….Just ONE DAY…..and do something just for Parkinson’s Awareness (With the excuse it's Parkinson's Awareness Month)….just to present a connection with Parkinson’s….you know my dad…you know me…you may know someone else.  BUT…… the people I have discovered through this journey who said “I didn’t know anyone else who knew about Parkinson’s so I didn’t know where to turn”….. All because I’ve opened up about it, I’ve talked about it; I’ve made myself visible in the world of Parkinson’s.  That’s what I want us to get out of this….is someone knowing someone else who needs this….needs a reason to fight this…..needs a shoulder to lean on…..needs another Parkinson’s patient to ask questions to…..
                      Needs a reason to NOT GIVE UP….. I’ve met 2 people who said “There isn’t anything I can do….I’ve got Parkinson’s and that’s that”….. You know one of the biggest “side components” of Parkinson’s is depression?..... It’s so easy to be consumed by “what’s coming” it turns into depression….. We’ve been told by so many nurses/doctors etc.  “You’re so lucky your dad is who he is…his sense of humor….his spirit…..so many people turn slightly hateful, bitter, and depressed”….. You know….. I know I’m lucky….very lucky.
If you’re asking….”But what can I do”….. Ohhhhh I love that question! J 
                Here are some suggestions…..but also please know you can Email me personally to help you pull something together, that’s what I LOVE to do, I Just need to know you want to do it :) My email address is: MissySpangler22@Yahoo.com for anyone who has questions!
·         Host a “Wear Orange Day” for Team Fox…..welcome anyone to wear an article of clothing etc that is orange….donate $1-5 to do so for that day(Something totally easy…but that helps a little bit)  It raises money, it gives you a little opportunity to do a mini explanation of Parkinson’s.
·         Have a morning where people donate a cup of coffee mini donation (Even just $1)…the concept is to give them a reason to do SOMETHING towards the cause.  Have a little 5 minute “coffee break” to explain about things
·         Bring a Brown Bag Lunch Day…donate the $5 you would have maybe spent on lunch maybe going out somewhere
·         If you work in a Restaurant Style Setting……Pick a Day/Week where something associated somehow with Parkinson’s (Orange Cupcakes etc) that So much of something Goes towards the restaurants donation towards our Project….I can help provide you with media/information to have available as well
·         Take up Pennies for Parkinson’s or loose change…..have a little sign with info… include a way for anyone needing/wanting information we can have them contact  

***Something as simple as posting it on your Facebook or twitter pages!

Well…see you get the idea…. I’ve got 1000 more of those ideas so if you want….. Pull together your co-workers and make something happen….. Every $1 TRULY makes a difference.
If you host something you can go directly to our Team Fox Website and submit the donation (list your business name or however you’d like)…. And it’s Tax Deductible (Don’t act like it isn’t 2012 tax season deadline so it’s crossing your mind for this tax year) J
So…. My question is who is up for the challenge?.....  We don’t call ourselves “Team Spangler” for nothing…..    
****I will also Challenge you.....to Challenge someone else****
 
P.S…..I’ll blog more about this later…but Mom and I are heading to NYC on Friday for the Team Fox MVP Dinner we got invited to with other Team Fox Goers…… and I REALLY want to put in a word we are continuing to make big things happen here!!! 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Ready....Set...Parkinson's Awareness Month!


Ready….. Set….. It’s Parkinson’s Awareness Month……
For many of us Awareness Month is like every other day that we strive to make a difference in the battle against Parkinson’s…but if someone is going to designate a month to us…I’ll take it!
I’ve met a new (and) great friend through Team Fox who just so happens to be “down the road” in Charleston and hosted the Fox Trot at Capital Market that I’d mentioned earlier in this blog….his goal was $5,000 and ….(prepare yourself)…he is approaching the $15,000 mark from it!!!  I am looking forward to partnering with George and making great things happen for Team Fox here in WV!!!!
We were able to pull together a Team for Team Spangler to participate in the walk and we were surprised by the beautiful day we ended up getting despite the weather that had been called for.  Thank you to ALL those who came out that day and your support!
 


I am seeking anyone who may want to do just a little “something” this month to help us spread the Parkinson’s Awareness message!.... I can help you organize or get any information you’d like…just let me know. (missyspangler22@yahoo.com)  If you’d like to have a casual Friday fundraiser where people donate $5 to wear jeans at work….brown bag it to lunch where someone would donate the cost of going out to lunch to help us, etc….or just spread the message of Parkinson’s to reach out to those who may not know where to turn to support…send them my way!  I’ve got a few little speaking engagements coming up to talk about Team Fox highlighting it being awareness month and I’m looking forward to it!  Plus I love to talk, so it works out great!
I haven’t been “satisfied” with my mileage I’ve been able to sneak in to train for the Vancouver Marathon coming up…but I’m going to make it happen!  Feel free to remind me…it isn’t how fast I’m doing it….it’s WHY I’m doing it.  (Thanks to Holli who told me about 10 times during my 14 mile run the other day when I was expressing my discouragement towards myself).  I am extremely excited though for this trip to see a college friend, visit a new place, and get to spend a race day with fellow Team Foxers!
We have some fundraisers planned for later in the year…but our goal is to at least concur the $1000 level amount prior to the Vancouver Marathon on May 5th…..   If you’d like to help somehow here is the direct link… 


The marathon is QUICKLY approaching and we are 31 days away….. So I’m sure my usual panic will be taking over my thoughts soon enough! 

Through the overwhelming feelings I’ve had of things I want to do, and the things I’m ACTUALLY getting done (there is always a big difference)…..I’ve constantly been reminding myself this quote I’ll leave you with today as it pertains to where we continue to go with making a difference in finding a cure……
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”
…. (and sometimes that first step is the toughest)……

Friday, March 8, 2013

March Madness

March Madness….

I wrote about it last year…and I’m going to touch on it again…. I’m not sure what “sports season” is more memorable for me with my dad, considering he pretty much was my coach for all of them (minus track season which I considered was my dad/coach break).  Somehow, he still had a lot of opinions for me and he secretly talked to the Coach Haught’s more than I probably know) J
A friend shared some pictures he’d found going through a media stick, and they really brought back some good memories.  (And some NERVOUS ones) from the State Tournament in 2001.  I think I can still feel the need to just want to throw up prior to running out on the Civic Center’s gym floor surrounded by seats filled with our loyal fans.  Looking back…that is one of my best sports memories…ever. 
 
You never really appreciate a feeling until later in life when you realize just how special it truly was.  I still feel many days I never actually showed how much I as a person appreciated the fan support/special supporters  we had through high school.  It always added to the excitement of the game, and it brings back a tough thing for me to talk about that I think is a reason I’ve hid from it a little bit.  I am a little disappointed in myself for this too.  Flipping through the news channels the other night and the girl’s state tournament coverage was on, I couldn’t help but think it was just yesterday our team was battling in those games.   I think I’m sometimes scared of my feelings I will feel going back to a high school game, and it shouldn’t be how I am. 
 
I cannot express how many late nights I spent in Ritchie County High School’s gym shooting baskets with dad.  Given a busy day or something, we still had to get the “repetition” in for shooting.  Spending so much time in a place with a person makes is a little difficult to swallow now when you realize just what that time meant to you now looking back. 

I don’t spend as much time as I may type about on here “looking back”…I use a lot of “looking back” moments to justify ways to handle the “now”.  I know a lot of who I am today is because of those moments, and when I’m trying to figure out how to handle a situation I try to evaluate things in the past, the outcome, and maybe how I should alter to get a different outcome now.  You talk a lot about STUFF when shooting 100’s of shots.  I probably try too hard with these 2nd to 5th graders I coach now…trying to get them to embrace understanding more outside the game of basketball J 
I am going to regret sharing this story…as it may be painful for my dad to know I even said this…I made the ref swear to secrecy…  BUT…. My little team lost last weekend…(I know…devastating)… nobody wants to win more than I do…. HOWEVER….  The ref was teasing me about finally losing a game…. And I hesitated and said you know…. (after making him swear he wouldn’t repeat I said this)… We needed to lose that game….We needed to lose….Practices had started to get too “easy”…. They wouldn’t listen to a lot of specifics of things that they needed to work on because “Coach we’ve been winning” (pretty much for 2 years for some on the team)…. These kids were so mad…I heard every excuse in the book why we lost and none of which was their fault (if anyone witnessed the 40 lay-ups that were missed and so forth you’d know why we lost) J….  My kids didn’t know how to lose.  It’s not an easy thing to accept…but it’s just as important to know how to lose…as it is to win.  Tempers were flaring, fits were being thrown, pouting, blaming…. It was rather ugly….and I was a little disappointed.  How do you teach a kid “to lose?”  Who wants to teach a kid to lose?...NOT ME…..
But yet…. We don’t always win in life…nothing will ALWAYS go your way…and at some point it has to be accepted so that when something even more serious doesn’t go your way….you don’t just give up.
I didn’ t really intend for this story to come full circle such as this, but…. Dad had a temperature 2 weekends ago of 105 (yes…you read that correctly)….. He slept for pretty much 2 solid days, wasn’t really eating much of anything if at all… it was truly the weakest moment I’ve ever seen my dad….I left the house with the worst feeling I’ve ever had through this…I’m not even sure if I said a word the entire way home.  How he keeps on fighting I will never truly know.  How he refuses to never give up….I’m not sure no matter how many long runs I reflect and think about things, I will ever know.  I just hope I never lose the desire to be a fighter like my dad.