2019 has been a fantastic year of fundraising for the Gary Parkinson Trust, raising well over £30,000 for my Dad’s continued care and rehabilitation.
Thank you to every single one of you who organised events, participated in events or donated your hard-earned cash in support of my Dad.
I wrote quite an emotional blog back in February, just to keep my Dad’s name out there, but the response we received was nothing short of phenomenal.
We’ve had some memorable moments like the first-ever Gary Parkinson Trophy at CMB Football Club in Bolton, the Team of 86 night up in the Boro, Pound4Parky days at Preston North End and Burnley, plus endless amounts of people doing Ironman’s, runs and anything they can put their hand to just to help out my Dad.
A local family to us, who lost their Mum, even donated all the money left in her memory to the Gary Parkinson Trust and have practically dropped off donations at regular intervals from events they have done ever since.
It’s hard to put into words how grateful we are for their kindness in such a sad time for them personally. All we can really say is thank you.
The PFA have been great supporters as well, and we’ve just received a hand-written Christmas card from the Chief Executive, Gordon Taylor.
People often ask us, “Aren’t the PFA doing anything to help?” The answer is yes. They are doing their bit.
The problem is that they shouldn’t be expected to pay for everything, despite some medical professionals thinking that should be the case.
Cuts and lack of funding mean that the NHS isn’t helping anywhere near as much as we’d like. A familiar story to many people who have a family member that needs care.
Things like toilet rolls for my Dad’s carers aren’t even being provided at our home, never mind funding to actually help him to keep making improvements and progress.
Despite our physios and other medical professionals telling them otherwise, the NHS funding now appears to be just to maintain, not progress.
As they say in football, “stand still and you’ll go backwards”, that’s not how we work in the Parkinson family. There’s nobody giving in here. We’ll keep going and going, and then we’ll go a little bit more.
We’ve learnt that from Dad, but even more so from my Mum in the last decade. She is the reason that we all keep kicking.
At the minute she’s practically my Dad’s main carer because of a lack of staff, travels up to the North East at least once a week to look after my Dad’s Mum who isn’t well, works a few days in a local shop and then has to be a Mum to me and my two sisters, Chloe and Sophie.
She’ll regularly have to do a days work at the shop and then stay up all night to look after my Dad. It’s incredible, but I just ask her friends and family to keep checking in. Coffee keeps her smile going.
On a personal note, 2020 is a really exciting year for me. I’m getting married to my childhood sweetheart, Beth, in July and I can’t wait for her to be my wife.
It will be great to have my Dad there with us to celebrate.
The stag do. He’ll be coming on that as well. We are off to Celtic Manor for Cheltenham Festival week, and we’ll be going racing on the Thursday as well as a round of golf.
My Dad will be caddying for me, and I’ll need all his help as well!
Back in 2010, we were told my Dad might not see the end of the week. What did I say about not giving in?
It will be some buzz when we are at Cheltenham together, let me tell you. Even more so if we have a few winners.
For now, though, I’d like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.
We’ll need you all again in 2020, and I know that I can count on you all to be there.
We’ve already got a walk up to Rivington Pike scheduled for the 8th February and planning is underway for the second Gary Parkinson Trophy, amongst other things.
If my Dad’s former clubs can keep on kicking away for us as well then that would be fantastic, not to mention you brilliant supporters of ours.
If you ever want to organise an event or just want to donate a few quid, then you can do so via garyparky.co.uk
Thanks for your support and best wishes.