Barb King is doing a marathon on her own terms.
In unison with an initiative from the Michael J. Fox foundation — titled Your Race, Your Rules — King is walking 26.2 miles in 10 days.
The idea, she said, came out of a training session at Rock Steady Boxing in Peoria, the local affiliate of the national not-for-profit, located inside Crossfit 309.
It’s an opportunity to raise awareness and funds for the foundation, and also to provide others like her who have Parkinson’s the opportunity to take control of an aspect of their life.
King estimates six or seven others from RockSteady are participating, and for her part, King has recruited friends from church and golf buddies to join her on walks, taking photographs and sharing them to Facebook along the way. Her good friend from Chicago, Norm Wright, even made the drive to Washington over Labor Day weekend to participate in the inaugural walk.
Her pledge was to earn $1,000 for the cause. She said Wednesday — after her morning class at RockSteady — that she has raised around $1,800.
Dave King, Barb’s husband, thinks the initiative has afforded his wife’s friends the opportunity to extend a helping hand, something that doesn’t often happen as both he and Barb describe her as a naturally independent person.
“She’s pretty stubborn about trying to do everything she can by herself,” said King.
As for most independent people, King’s preference to go it alone is in part a true desire to be self-sufficient, but also an aversion to placing burden on others. She explained that, through this initiative, she’s beginning to understand asking for help isn’t as much of a burden as she thought.
“I don’t want them to help me yet,” said King. “I’ll need it later, and they’re more than willing to help me if I ask, and I’m learning to do that.”
Her journey with Parkinson’s has been a series of learning experiences.
King said when first diagnosed she was against the idea of attending a Parkinson’s support group — “I really didn’t want to see what was ahead” — but when she saw a demonstration for RockSteady at an event, she was on board.
“It was at least something, if I was mad or really feeling bad, I could punch it out,” said King.
King stays active, she golfs, attends classes at RockSteady, and also has a role in the EastLight Theatre production of "Mamma Mia" in East Peoria.
Activity, she says, is a way to stave off the progression of Parkinson’s.
“Our journey is, we’re just trying to keep ahead of it,” said King. “I beat up on it every chance I get.”
The last leg of her 10-day marathon will take place at 4 p.m. on Sunday at East Peoria’s EastSide Centre.
Though this leg of the marathon is coming to an end, rest assured that King won’t stop beating up on Parkinson’s.
“I’ve got too many things I want to do,” said King. “There’s too much life to not get out there and at least try.”