Pam and I met Doug Bahniuk at the end of his 900 mile journey across Alaska (Photo by Pamela Dunlap-Shohl)
When asked why he he wished to climb Mt. Everest, mountaineer George Mallory is said to have replied "Because it's there". When you ask Doug Bahniuk why he rode his bicycle 900 miles from the North Slope of Alaska to Anchorage, he cites a more compelling incentive. Doug wanted to show other people who suffer from Parkinson's Disease that adventure and accomplishment are still within their grasp.
To achieve this, he set about a test that he describes as "Brutal". Riding solo across Alaska on a road of potholes and "washboard" ripples, a road littered with rocks the size of peaches, he fought headwind and fatigue for nearly three weeks. Doug rode through mud and mosquitoes up mountain passes. He sheltered from the rain under a bit of plastic. He pitched his tent over beds of rocks that prodded him at night through his blue foam pad. He fell off his bike three times.
He finally arrived in Anchorage hungry, bug-bit, triumphant and relieved. He can now return to his normal everyday life. A life where he must deal each day with Parkinson's Disease. A task that will surly seem tame compared to his wild ride from the remote Arctic back to civilization.
Mallory disappeared on Everest. Mortal risk was one of the hazards of going there. With Doug, it's not the going there that matters, it's the coming back.
Welcometo all with an interest in Parkinson's Disease. This blog was to be an information clearinghouse for the Anchorage Parkinson's Disease Support Group, where meeting schedules, agendas, speakers etc could be found. It's still that, but has also become a sort of therapeutic hobby. So I invite you to join in the discussion and experience a little therapy as well. This will be as interesting as we as a community make it. Think loud and sound off!
Our Support group meets the third Saturday of each month at 3:30 in the afternoon. The meetings take place at the Anchorage Pioneer Home , 923 West 11th Avenue in downtown Anchorage on the fifth floor in the West lounge. You may call 350-9691 with questions about the group and meetings.
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The Knight Digital Media Center, judges of the Alaska Press Club's annual journalism awards selected The Alaska Parkinson's Rag for second place in the "Best Blog" category for 2008. Here is an excerpt of their comments:
"...Alaska Parkinson's Rag is many things: a community resource, a humor column, a science and medicine explainer. But it's also something that few blogs ever manage to be: addictive and gripping. Everything seems to work just right on this blog, and it is a powerful testament to what a person can achieve in this medium. "