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  • Writer's pictureMollie Lombardi

Stand Up: HR Gives Back 2019

Updated: Sep 10, 2019

In the military, the term “Stand Down” refers to “a relaxation of status of a military unit or force from an alert or operational posture.” Typically it’s a period between major deployments—when troops recover, resupply, retrain, and prepare for forward deployment again.

The phrase “alert operational posture” resonates with me. Since the beginning, my fight with Parkinson’s has been a continual battle where I’m always on alert and always need to be ready to mobilize. It’s constantly struggling to keep everything moving along like normal, no matter what the cost. Now while being in a constant state of readiness for battle does have some benefits, living on a hair-trigger is exhausting, so standing down is just as important to long-term success.

My own Stand Down begins on October 8, six years and fifteen days after I received my initial PD diagnosis.

On that day I will undergo the first of three stages of Deep Brain Stimulation (“DBS”) implantation, starting first with the insertion of two electronic leads into my brain tissue. A week later, two battery-operated devices will be inserted into my chest cavity. And finally, two weeks after that, the entire system will be turned on. Although this operation is not a cure, it is an extremely positive step toward better managing the symptoms of PD, and hopefully results in my having a much improved quality of life.

Since my diagnosis I have led a very public and transparent fight against Parkinson’s. I have written, spoken, organized, fundraised and more. Every fall for the last five years, one of my missions has been to lead the “HR Gives Back” Fundraiser during the HR Technology Conference. Together we have raised well over $100,000 for the Michael J. Fox Foundation. And once again I need your help. The rollout this year isn’t an extravagant one. It’s just me, standing here, asking you to stand up as I prepare to Stand Down from my public fight against PD, to focus instead for a few weeks on my personal fight.

To my friends and family donating as individuals, please dig deep. It is only through the research efforts sponsored by organizations such as the Michael J. Fox Foundation that I and many others now have options like DBS to treat our disease. To my many generous corporate sponsors, your support has meant so much to me and to the Foundation for many years, and believe me, I will shout your names from the mountaintop as you help me achieve this goal. And to those of you who are swag junkies, I’ve got you covered, too. The first 50 individuals donating $50 or more will get an awesome vintage T-shirt with my “Unshakable Optimist” logo!

So I hope you’ll join me and stand up. After HR Tech, I’ll be recovering, resting and retraining, and will be back in the public battle arena with you in a few short weeks. And I promise you this. I’ll be back to fight harder than ever before.

P.S. Don’t forget: if your employer has a charitable donation matching program, please be sure to let your HR or Payroll department know that you have donated!

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