Despite Challenges of Neurological Disorder, Local Man Raises Over $200 Walking for American Cancer Society
FRYBURG, Pa. (EYT) – Undaunted by the difficulties of living with a debilitating neurological disorder, one local resident has pushed forward, walking to raise over $200 for the American Cancer Society.
Gordon Eisenman grew up on a family farm in the Fryburg area. He graduated from North Clarion High School and then decided to stay in the area. He got married, had a son, and has worked for New Era in Strattanville for nearly 26 years.
The event that changed his life began six years ago when he ended up in the hospital for an emergency appendectomy. Somehow, either the condition leading up to the surgery or the surgery itself triggered something in him – a neurological disorder that his doctors have been at a loss to diagnose.
“It was officially six years this past Sunday (October 11) that I have been fighting this mess,” Eisenman told exploreClarion.com.
In those years, Eisenman has been to nine neurologists, and the only official diagnosis they have reached is an “unnamed neurological disease.”
“It consists of hand tremors, head shake, memory problems, inability to walk without assistance, and fatigue. We have been treating for Parkinsonian diseases because the neurologist says I ‘don’t fit in a nice tidy box.'”
Because of the disorder, walking is difficult for Eisenman, and he utilizes forearm braces at work, a cane around the house, and a trekking pole when walking outdoors.
Nevertheless, despite those difficulties, Eisenman recently decided to take on a walking challenge to raise money for the American Cancer Society.
“I saw on Facebook an ad for the 35 mile walk/run cancer challenge. With everything that I have been dealing with on a personal level, I thought it was a great opportunity to do something helpful and show everyone that even if you have a physical disability there is nothing you can’t accomplish and that you can help so many people with only offering up a few hours of your time.”
A family friend had recently been diagnosed with cancer, and that only added to his determination, Eisenman explained.
“It was game on.”
He started out by organizing his own individual Facebook fundraiser for the challenge, and after his first Facebook fundraiser quickly reached its goal, raising $200.00 for the American Cancer Society, he created a second fundraiser, hoping to raise another $200.00.
He officially began walking for the event on October 1, slowly chipping away at his 35-mile goal.
“I try and walk a mile a night. I am averaging 43-minute miles.”
Eisenman said he chooses routes in the Fryburg area around his family’s property.
“I start out at the corner of my garage and walk out my drive to Eisenman Road and kind of wing it from there.”
He also tracks his progress on a cell phone app and posts the results for his followers, showing his route, time, distance, and estimated number of steps.
On the weekends, Eisenman says he “puts his head down” to put in anywhere from two to four miles per walk. Despite his neurological disorder slowing him down a bit, he has stuck with it officially and reached his halfway point on October 13.
Eisenman also takes time on his walks to appreciate the beautiful autumn scenery and even sometimes pauses to snap a few quick photos to share with his Facebook followers, as well.
“I am surrounded by farmland and woods. With the leaves changing these last few weeks, it has been awesome,” he noted.
These walks have become about both the journey and the destination, Eisenman said.
“I have helped so many people because of this. Everyone needs help sometimes.”
Eisenman also credits his disorder itself, as well, as his experience with it for making a difference in his life and his perspective.
“I wasn’t a bad guy before this, but I am a better man because of it.”
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