CLARENVILLE, N.L.— It’s been a year since Ian Davidson was diagnosed with young onset Parkinson’s disease.
“It was quite a shocking diagnosis, because I was 45 at the time, and I’m an otherwise healthy person,” Davidson told The Packet. “I’m active, I always took care of myself, I did everything right, and I still got nailed with this.”
Davidson says upon the one year anniversary of the diagnosis — a year he says was spent processing, grieving, and researching, while still fulfilling his duties as principal of Clarenville High School — he felt the need to give back to the community.
“I was in a confusing place,” he said. “Once I met some other people with Parkinsons and made some connections and figured some things out and understood what I was feeling, I wanted to give back.”
That’s when he came up with the idea to start a fundraiser.
“I said if I’m going to do a fundraiser, than I have to do what I know, and what I think people will like and appreciate,” he explained. “So I’m going to do wine.”
Davidson says most people who know him know him firstly for his dedication to the Clarenville Cougars, and secondly, for his love for wine.
So he came up with the idea to sell off ‘mystery wine boxes’ at a cost of $110, along with a $20 donation to the Parkinson’s Society.
Each box comes with six mystery bottles of wine. Davidson says the intrigue and mystery of not knowing which wines you’ll be purchasing is half the fun of the experience.
He says many people donated above and beyond the $20 suggestion, and that there was also people who donated without purchasing a wine box.
He had to shut the fundraiser down after just four days because of the incoming order volume, with orders coming from as far as Labrador.
The total amount of donations has not yet been tallied, but Davidson says over 80 cases of wine have been ordered for the fundraiser.
He says the wine boxes should be available for pick up next week.
It’s a tradition he hopes to continue in years to come.
“The only thing I got to figure out is if I’m going to do it twice a year or am I going to do it once a year,” he says.
Davidson says he has also been in talks with the Parkinson’s Society about hosting a Shake, Rattle, and Stroll benefit walk in Clarenville this September.
UPDATE: Davidson's fundraiser raised a total of $3,342. 100 cases of mystery wines were sold, along with many cash donations.
Living with Parkinson’s
Ian Davidson says apart from keeping on track with his exercises and physical routines, positive thinking has been an important weapon in his battle.
He also says that the decision to take medication was a difficult one for him.
“I wanted to resist taking the medication,” he told The Packet. “I wanted to resist, to be strong, to be a warrior.
“But, in my research, and over the course of the year, I discovered that it’s no big deal if you have to get a little bit of help.”
“I decided I wanted my best day to be today,” he said, given as that that none of us know what is in store each day, so why not make today the best it can be.
“If there’s anybody out there with Parkinsons and you want somebody to talk with, or would just like to meet, I would like to meet you. There’s not that many; and it can be lonely,” he added.