From pedaling across Iowa to Fishing in Wisconsin: How did these two people with Parkinsons meet?

on solid ground DPF Ambassadors Michael Fahning and Carol Clupny

I wonder what Michael thought when I asked if we could meet up with him during our upcoming road trip. More than that, I wonder what he thought when I asked if he would arrange a guided fishing trip to enjoy together.

Michael Fahning is an Ambassador for the Davis Phinney Foundation for Parkinsons. He has been living well with the disease for 20 years.

I also am a DPF Ambassador. This is not where I met Michael. I actually met him on a social media page where he was seeking information about the Registers Annual Great Bicycle Across Iowa. Having just registered for the week long cycling event and seeing his question come up I typed a quick note. I told him about signing up with Dr. Jay Alberts’ Team “Pedaling for Parkinsons”. Jay was doing research and had discovered how a certain formula of pedaling decreased the symptoms of Parkinsons by 30 percent. Michael was jazzed by the research and by the team and he signed up.

Michael and I became friends on social media sites. Yet you can learn only so much be reading posts. So last Friday night after fishing on Moose Lake we sat by a campfire admiring a beautiful starry sky. I asked Michael further questions about his life. The top thing on his list is gratitude. Michael told me he wakes up every day thanking God for all he has. I learned he is dedicated father to his three (now adult) sons. His deep family ties were reinforced by his recent move to the Minneapolis area. This put Michael in a better housing situation. With that he has his complete immediate family within an hours drive. He sees them regularly.

Michael’s involvement in the Parkinsons community has been long lasting. He enjoys meeting in person, one and one or in small groups. He has helped others by modeling bicycling skills and Nordic walking. And he takes several fishing trips a year! More important than sharing his love of outdoor activities, Michael’s calm nature invites friendship.

I learned how to catch a muskie, how to ride safely in a lake fishing boat, and how reaching out to someone you know a little can strengthen friendships a lot.

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Published by Carol Clupny, author The Ribbon of Road Ahead: One Woman's Remarkable Journey with Parkinson's Disease

I am a middle aged woman with Parkinson's Disease. When I was first diagnosed I spent a lot of time researching the disease. Seeing a video of a man in the advanced stages of the disease attempting to get out of his chair and then "freezing" as he tried to walk across the room got me off my butt and moving. Great adventures on the Camino de Santiago and with TEAM Pedaling for Parkinson's across IOWA, as well as the day to day adventures of life have lead me to writing. My first novel, a memoir, was published early 2019. It is called, you got it THE RIBBON OF ROAD AHEAD. Living with the degenerative neurological disease Parkinson's, ULTREIA is a word that guides me. I have chosen it as the name of my business ULTREIA BOOKS. It comes from Latin and old French and means "unfailing courage". In the old days, pilgrims would call "Ultreïa" to each other as encouragement "Go up, go further!" Nowadays we would say "You can do this thing". It takes courage to live with Parkinson's. May I face each day with unfailing courage. Ab Here is more about me; I was living an active lifestyle riding horses, hiking, climbing and snow skiing when at age fifty she was diagnosed with Parkinsons. Retiring from her career as a speech-language pathologist she decided to “take to the road” to battle the disease. Her first steps, walking out her door to the mailbox, lead to trekking over 1000 miles of pilgrimage trails on the Camino de Santiago in France and Spain. A dusty bike discovered in the garage resulted in four rides on the Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa with the Pedaling for Parkinsons Team. These adventures inspired her to write a memoir The Ribbon of Road Ahead: One Woman’s Remarkable Journey with Parkinson’s Disease. Carol blogs about her everyday life as a middle-aged woman in the mid-stages of Parkinson’s disease. Her honest, humorous and casual narrative style brings the reader to an intimate understanding of Carol’s resilience and acceptance. Her blog, sharing the name of her book ”The Ribbon of Road Ahead” can be found at www.ultreiablog.org After completing a Masters of Science in Speech Pathology from Eastern Washington University Carol received certification in School Leadership and Administration from Lewis and Clark College. She provided speech pathology services and was a program director for 32 years in the wide geographic expanse of eastern Oregon. Active in the Oregon Speech-Language and Hearing Association she received honors of the association and the presidential award for her work on recruitment and retention of speech and hearing professionals. Carol presented numerous papers and projects at local, state and regional professional conferences. She was appointed by Governor Ted Kulongoski to two terms of the Oregon Board of Examiners of Speech Pathology and Audiology, the state’s licencing and consumer protection agency. Since her diagnosis in 2008, Carol has become active in the Parkinson’s Community as an advocate, an Ambassador for the Davis Phinney Foundation and support group facilitator for Parkinson's Resources of Oregon. She was appointed the regional patient representative for the Parkinson's Foundation’s Women with PD TALK study. In September of 2019 the Michael J Fox Foundation selected Carol to participate in the Parkinson’s Policy Forum in Washington DC. As an attendee at the World Parkinson Congress in 2016 in Portand, Oregon, Carol presnted a poster session examining the decision making process for patients considering deep brain stimulaiton. At the 2019 WPC in Kyoto, Japan she presented a poster on vision concerns of women with PD and lead small group discussions. Her book The Ribbon of Road Ahead has provided many speaking opportunities for Carol. In 2019 and early 2020 she visited 24 support groups in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and California to share her thoughts on living well with the disease. In addition, she has presented talks for The Center on Aging in San Francisco, Parkinson's Place in Las Vegas, Northwest Parkinson's Foundation in Richland WA and virtually through their HOPE online program. In late 2020 she rejuvenated her voice and narrated her book. It became available as an audio book in 2021. As part of this project she read stories over the airwaves on RadioParkies Australia with DJ Madonna and in Great Britain with DJ Johnny Parky. She and her husband Charlie have two adult sons. They live on a small hobby farm in eastern Oregon. Contact Information: Carol Clupny PO BOX 128, Hermiston, OR 97838 caclupny@gmail.com (541) 720-4256

3 thoughts on “From pedaling across Iowa to Fishing in Wisconsin: How did these two people with Parkinsons meet?

  1. I feel so blessed with your friendship, Carol, along with Charlie’s🙏🏻❤️🙏🏻
    Had it not been for our paths crossing thru social media, I might have never met our great group of dear friends thru Jay Alberts and Pedaling for Parkinson’s. 👍

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