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You will be missed, John.

Hello Help for PD community. I am here again to show my respect and say goodbye to a beloved member of our community, John Daniels. I met John 3 years ago at Rock Steady Boxing in Schenectady. John came in with a desire to get stronger, improve his balance, and keep moving. In his younger years, this Adirondack 46-er spent his days hiking, canoeing, and doing just about anything else outdoors. Anyone could tell he still had his sense of adventure, as he was always willing to try new forms of exercise like battle-ropes, deadlifting, jumping, you name it and John would try it. He taught everyone that age does not define your function.


John started to see me in Physical Therapy for various different orthopedic conditions. He would show up 30 minutes early in his old voltswagon with his own kayak carrier contraption on the roof of his car that was covered in caution tape and had tennis balls at each end. I would find him reading the newspaper in the waiting room, carrying either a book, magazine, or newsclipping that reminded him of me. In fact, I have about 15 old Adirondack hiking books in my apartment that he gave me. About once a month, I would get a call from John and he would leave me a voicemail inviting me to a play or concert that always started with "Hi Stephanie, John Daniels here." That was the John I knew in a nutshell - incredibly thoughtful, hopeful, kind, independent, creative, and hardworking.



A few years ago, John lost his wife. I am sure a lot of you can connect with his feeling of being "ready to go" because his missed his wife dearly. Nevertheless, John epitomized living well with PD. At 88 years old, he exercised for an hour a day at home, reconstructed his walker and walking poles so he can take his dog on long walks, would meet up with friends and go to concerts, went hiking with his dog and said reconstructed walker (and up some pretty steep mountains), and so much more. John was an inspiration to many and a friend to all.



While I am so sad that I will never get another missed call and voicemail from John, I am so thankful I had the time with him that I did. His contagious smile and steadfast perseverance is something that will stay with me forever. John, I'll think of you anytime I am on a mountain, in a canoe or kayak, or meet someone that thinks they can't do something because of their age. I will miss you.



Words from a couple of John's friends from Rock Stead Boxing at the Ring of Hope:


I have often dreamt in peace of mountains, lakes, and streams

Where sunsets become starry nights and bird songs fill the trees

So, if I ever disappear and you don't find me here

Find me on the trail winding forever through my dreams

Jeff Karbowski


My fondest memory of John was my first impression of how resilient his demeanor was regardless of his disabilities. How he marched forward without ever complaining and what an inspiration he was for me. He told me he loved birds and one day I brought him a little blue glass bird and told him to put it on the window sill and when he was feeling blue to look at that bird. From than on every time he saw me at our gym class he reminded me how grateful he was for that bird. 

May your spirit fly with the birds John.

Miss you.

Anna

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