Michael Westphal is crafting some of what it has to offer.
“When you get diagnosed with Parkinson’s you just got to hold onto the things that you can do find the things that you love to do and hold on to them for as long as you can,” he said.
Westphal runs his own contracting company. He caretakes, designs and has even built homes in the MDI/Great Cranberry Isle area.
“Well it makes you feel better getting up and going to work everyday. If I don’t get up and get out the door everyday, you end up getting more symptoms,” he said.
He's using carpentry and running as escapes from the harsh reality.
“With Parkinson’s you have to give up things and sometimes it’s not safe to use a saw a table saw or chop saw you have to be careful so I don’t do much of it anymore I do a little bit,” Westphal said.
While one may eventually have to take a back seat, the other will continue. As long as he’s able to put one foot in front of the other.
“I’m trying to do these runs to bring more awareness for Parkinson’s disease and to let people know that it’s not an easy thing to deal with,” he said.
He’s spoken about his journey to various groups, including the Maine Parkinson’s Society.
As well as the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which is dedicated to finding a cure to Parkinson’s.
“They asked me to be the guest speaker at the Michael J Fox awards dinner as for top fundraisers across the US.”
At that banquet in 2016 he met one of his biggest inspirations Michael J Fox himself.
It’s an organization that means the world to Westphal. In just three and a half years he’s raised $87,000 for the foundation.
“One of the things that drives me drives me to keep raising funds for Team Fox and the Michael J. Fox Foundation is the fact that there’s a genetic link in Parkinson’s. I’m raising funds so they don’t have to live with that,” Westphal said.
He's fighting to the finish, not for himself, but for his family and to hopefully inspire others.
“Anyone who isn’t genuinely moved by his effort and sort of the honesty and purity of what he’s doing then you’re probably not alive because its really something,” MDI Marathon director Gary Allen said.