Since the first day of my life I have had a special bond with my Papa (That's what we call my dad's dad. He never liked the "G" word and as a family we've always been woke enough to respect that). My parents gave me the name Jacob Loel Fain which for the most part I'll admit isn't all that creative or inspiring. The first part, the most common boy's name in the world for several years. The last part, locked in stone by heritage, it's meaning only known by God and maybe somebody from 23 and Me. But the middle part, which is often the most overlooked, is not only unusual but loaded with meaning. It is my Papa's name. I'm not entirely sure why may parent's picked it for me, or why my Papa's parent's originally gave it to him, but I've always been proud of it because it connected me to him.
Our bond of course has gone a lot further than just a name. We share several loves, most notably football, fishing, and in-n-out burgers. He was at all my birthday party's growing up and called the house nearly every week. At times it was easy to forget he was my Papa and just think of him as my buddy.
During several of those calls, Papa would ask me how my golf was going. I'm sure there were times where I had good news to report but most of the calls I remember were when things weren't going as well as I wanted. Those calls stand out, because I always left them more encouraged about where things were going than I was before. It wasn't that my Papa had offered any technical advice or putting tips that made me feel better but it was his belief in me. He knew that I could succeed, even when I didn't. All I had to do was keep fighting.
Why do I tell you all of this? Well a few years ago my Papa was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. Receiving the news felt like a gut punch. We are all aware of what a brutal disease Parkinson’s is because of the way it knocked out the greatest fighter of all time in Muhammad Ali.
Whenever the going got tough for me, my Papa was there to encourage me. Now is my chance to try and return the favor. That's why I'm running the 2019 Chicago Marthon with the Parkinson's Foundation. I want my Papa to know that I believe. I believe we can raise enough money to find a cure. I believe that future generations will never be struck by the fear brought by a diagnosis of Parkinson's. I believe that my Papa and the millions of others currently fighting this disease can and will beat it. We will succeed. All we have to do is keep fighting.