Our tiny little town (official population 750, actual population probably about 1,000) had its annual flea market today, and I had a booth there. I donned my "Parkie Princess" t-shirt, and hung up the Team Fox banner I had designed. I proudly set out all the beaded jewelry I've made over the last few months, plus some gently used clothing, and set up shop in anticipation of making some money for the Michael J. Fox Foundation.
Here's my booth:
Well, it was a flea market, and not too many people were interested in buying NEW beaded jewelry; they were looking for real deals on used things. I was feeling discouraged. Then, this lovely older woman showed up, and poked around the booth for a little while, then asked me if she could take one of the informational leaflets I had printed out from the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Of course, I replied "Please, of course! Take one!", so she did and wandered off.
A while later, she came back. She said to me "I just wanted to thank you for doing this; my husband has been diagnosed with Parkinson's, and I've learned so much about it just from reading this". Well, she made my day! We chatted for a bit, and she told me that she herself had epilepsy, for which she has had a surgery similar to DBS. She also said that she thinks her husband is in denial, and she's concerned because she's heard that the longer you wait to start medication, the less effective it is. I told her that the latest research says that that's not necessarily so, and in any case it varies widely from patient to patient.
To me, this meeting was an unexpected gift. I looked at this beautiful lady, clearly so strong and courageous, and I thought "In some small way, I have helped her today". Suddenly, I didn't care that I hadn't made a lot of money at the flea market. I made something more important. I made a difference.