A 76-year-old Lynden man is taking his Parkinson’s brother's diagnosis personally and is pulling more than his weight in raising awareness.
An estimated 10 million people around the world are battling Parkinson’s disease. 60,000 people will be diagnosed each year in America. This doesn’t account for the thousands that will go undetected.
76-year-old Mike Adkinson is preparing to pull a trailer with his John Deere tractor more than 1,700 miles from Bellingham to Minnesota. He’s honoring his brother Dan and taking full advantage of his retirement to embark on a unique education and fundraising mission.
“The American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA) in Seattle is doing amazing things and it’s not just about research, it’s about quality of life and providing resources to people at home,” said Adkinson.
He admits he’s still learning about the progressive nervous system disorder but knows he can raise money to support the people who do. His 10-mile-per-hour top speed John Deere will pull a modest trailer that’s covered in community-sponsored and a QR code where curious passers-by can scan and donate to the APDA.
“We need donations and I’m prepared to suffer for it,” laughs Adkinson.
Adkinson will drive the tractor the entire way and attempt to sleep in his pint-size trailer.
“I hope to meet people and talk with them about Parkinson’s and how it’s affected their families. I might stay in the same spot for several days so it’s really about spreading awareness and hopefully reaching our $50,000 goal along the way," said Adkinson.
The interstate journey will conclude in Perch Lake, Minnesota where his brother-in-law is in need of a tractor.
“We had been talking for a while about his need for a tractor and when my brother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s I thought it was a unique opportunity to do something big by helping my family in Minnesota and showing people like my brother that some of us are out here fighting for people with Parkinson’s and their caretakers,” said Adkinson.
His wife Phyllis will stay behind and handle the social media posts. She said the need to raise awareness is increasing and she knows she’s not alone in fully appreciating the prevalence of Parkinson’s.
Every 9 minutes someone in the US is diagnosed with Parkinson's. It is the fastest-growing neurological disease and is set to outpace Alzheimer's by 2040.
Donations can be made at apdaparkinson.donordrive.com and you can track the journey on Facebook.
“Just search up tractor trip for Parkinson’s,” said Adkinson.
They’re also on Youtube and TikTok for maximum exposure.
The Tractor Trip for Parkinson’s is holding a celebration launch party Saturday at Kulshan Brewery in Bellingham and hits the road for Minnesota Sunday, May 15th. The tractor will be headed up highway 20 North through the Cascade Pass.
“That just opened up last week so it’s the perfect time to hit the road,” said Adkinson