The Duchess of Pedaling for Parkinson's
April 17, 2022 Seattle, Washington
Nan Little may be best known as the author of her touching book about living and thriving with Parkinson’s disease, “If I Can Climb Mt Kilimanjaro, Why Can’t I Brush My Teeth?” Others may know her as the Duchess of Pedaling for Parkinson’s. Diagnosed in 2008, Nan discovered the work of Dr Jay Alberts at the Cleveland Clinic and, from that point on, she has worked hard to help refine and establish the “forced exercise,” indoor stationary cycling program that has changed the lives of people living with Parkinsons — including her own.
Nan joined the RAGBRAI team to help raise funds for research, and then helped out in the clinical studies to test the theories and outcomes. Ultimately, she went on to set up some of the first PFP programs in the Seattle area, most still riding today. Working with the YMCA, she helped build a relationship that would put PFP into YMCA cycling studios across the country. For more than 13 years, she has managed relationships and license agreements with more than 150 PFP sites, helping build the program’s integrity and brand.
Maybe as much as two years ago, Nan began to face some health challenges, on top of Parkinsons, that slowed her down. Recently, she decided to step away from her volunteer position with PFP in order to focus on her health and enjoy the things she loves to do. She resigned a couple of weeks ago and though she won’t be available to the community directly, she’ll likely be around to help out. Jay’s response to her resignation tells the story — Nan is part of the PFP family and you can’t resign from family. Rather, we’ll simply redistribute roles and responsibilities.
On behalf of Pedaling for Parkinsons and all you’ve inspired, thank you for your tireless effort, endless love and heartfelt compassion, Nan.