Getting to Know Don's Mad Dashers

by Maria Mayes

What is the name of your Team?
Don’s Mad Dashers


How you got your team name?
After my Dad, Don, who recently passed after a 13 year battle with PD.  In the last month of his time with us on earth he would have moments of delusions and hallucinations...one evening he told me to get ready; he and I were going to “make a run for it” to escape the nursing home (aka Jail) where he was recovering from surgery prior to coming back home for his last week in the care of his family and hospice.  Dad we are “making a run for it” now in the name of finding a cure for PD and know you will be watching down on us from Heaven on race day.   It’s a Mad Dash to the finish!


Do you run/walk/cheer/give – or all of the above?
All of the above.


SF Marathon events your team members are signed up for?
Kandice Winter, Maria Mayes and Meghan Hartman  1/2 Marathon
Keith Mayes (the overachiever) Marathon
Still trying to recruit others of 5k and half


Why/who you run for?
Don Noll; my Father, my Mentor, my Hero.  Also my father-in-law Lannie “The Old Gringo” Mayes who was diagnosed with PD within weeks of Dad’s passing.
 
We are running in memory of Dad with the goal of helping to find a cure for the horrible disease that took him from us three months ago at the age of 72, before we were ready to let him go.  Don Noll was the most wonderful Father a child could ever ask for. In the words of my sister Pam Winter (aka my other Hero’s) eulogy to family and friends; “As I thought about describing my father I realized you have already described him through your kind words; he was a good person, warm and welcoming, he had a big heart, he had a strong spirit, he was generous with his time, he was a mentor, he was easy going, he was friendly and approachable, he had integrity, he had a great sense of humor, he had a kindly presence, he had a reassuring voice”. 
 
My Dad and Mom celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this June 30th (though Dad did so from Heaven).  They raised 5 smart, talented, and compassionate children (if I do say so myself) and have 9 amazing grandchildren with a 10th on the way.  Dad was a business man who worked with architects throughout the country selling structural granite for some of the most beautiful buildings and landmarks in the US.  As many shared with us, his business associates soon became his friends including San Francisco’s own late Lawrence Halprin.  Dad’s worked on may of San Francisco’s most beautiful structures such as the San Francisco Library, Levi Plaza, and Yerba Buena Gardens and we are looking forward to seeing them while in the City for the Marathon. One of the most inspiring things about my father is that throughout the 13 years he fought the effects of PD, we never once heard him complain. He was a physical fitness buff and worked out until it became nearly impossible for him to do so about 6 months before his passing.  He would be proud of us and all who run in support of this cause.  We were blessed in that each of my Dad’s children and grandchildren were able to say Thank You and Goodbye while Dad was still lucid and he was surrounded by those he loved as he left this world for a better one. 
 
My Father-in-Law Lannie Mayes was recently diagnosed with PD at 70 years of age. We are excited that even with a minor dose of levodopa we have seen a dramatic improvement including seeing his personality come out again which has been hiding the past few years. Lannie earned his “Old Gringo” moniker from some of the locals when when racing off road motorcycles in Baja Mexico.  His life long love of motorcycles included first place finishes during his days racing flat track in the sixties and then years of supporting the motocross and off road racing pursuits of his sons. Lannie was a successful business owner of Willow Insurance in Clovis, Ca before he retired, has been married to my mother-in-law for over 40 years and has 6 wonderful grandchildren. 
 
As much as we run for these two fine men we also run for all affected with PD.  It is our goal to raise awareness of what the End-Stage of PD looks like; to encourage doctors to be forthcoming with communicating the time is near so to allow the patient to spend as much time as possible with family before they leave this world. There is very little information out there on end-stage and sadly our culture and the bureaucracy of medical care prevents doctors from acknowledging as early as possible. 
 
How do you primarily raise funds?  Fundraisiung events planned, etc.
 
Donate and ask for donations via email in person from friends and family; will also post to Dad’s caring bridge page.
 
Number of years with Team Parkinson?
Several years donating but first year running.
 
Anything else you want others to know about your team:  favorite color, shirts, logo, etc.
Kandice will be making up tank tops our team will wear on race day – they will be black with white writing and have Dad’s picture and we will be wearing black bandanas.  Please cheer us on if you see us. My goal is to get Team Parkinson to the Central Valley where I live; possibly for the Twin Cities Marathon this fall, where Parkinson’s is so prevalent. 
 
What is your favorite Team Parkinson memory?
Looking forward to making some this year!

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