New Challenge Won't Stop My Friend
Sean Logan used to be a big man in politics. Now he's making a difference a new way.
Sean Logan's got the biggest smile on his face. We haven't seen each other in a few years. He stands when we greet. We hug. We're old friends. Old friends hug.
We first met years ago at his office, when he was the mayor of Monroeville, a suburb outside of Pittsburgh. I was a young reporter with attitude. He was a young politician with power. We almost came to blows in his office. In fact...he had me escorted outside. We laugh about it now. Wasn't it Abraham Lincoln who said "do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?"
With PA Sen. Jay Costa. Sean was a state senator, turnpike commissioner and mayor.
As Sean's left arm reaches out so he can shake my hand...I can see it shaking. Not a lot..but enough to notice.
Sean Logan has Parkinson's disease . Every nine minutes an American is diagnosed with Parkinson's. It attacks the brain. It's chronic and progressive. It's characterized by anxiety..depression...fatigue...and the most obvious..a form of rhythmic shaking....tremors.
The shaking doesn't bother Sean. It's the other stuff.
- The memory loss. He could lose his drivers license soon. Doctors worry he could forget where his car is.
- The muscle fatigue. He's collapsed in extreme heat. He had to be air lifted to a hospital last year.
He was on a charity walk when he collapsed. He does a lot of charity stuff and a lot of walking. The walking for charity has raised over a million dollars for Parkinson's research . He's on a mission to cure Parkinson's as he said in a video he made with University of Pittsburgh Medical Center:
Sean abhors pity. He wanders a bit into self loathing and depression. Much like I'd done with my cancer. But he snaps out of it. He's a young man..not fifty...has young kids..and a young wife. But it's hard.
A few months ago Sean was sitting in a Starbucks. He gets there at the crack of dawn. He sits on the same bench pretty much every day. One morning he sat down....his tremors caused the bench to shake a bit. A man sitting next to looked at him and barked "Hey buddy can you stop shaking the fucking bench!" (Sorry about using the F-bomb. Kinda needed to spell it. I hope it makes you as angry as it made me).
Sean was shocked...hurt...enraged. A bit ashamed.
He looked over at the man and said "Wish I could stop shaking brother." The angry man took his rage to the next table. Sean finished his coffee. I told Sean, I would have "accidentally" spilled my hot coffee into the angry ?? man's lap. Kinda seems like the appropriate response. What would you have done?
Maybe a kinder...gentler me would have pulled up a quote attributed to Buddha:
"In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you."
Sean embraces each moment. His son's soccer games. His daughter's high school moments. His wife's courage.
Sean loves more than he used to...spends most of his days trying to make a difference. He's a Sparkt kinda guy. Are you?
How are you making a difference every day?�Let me know.