The American Dream – A Letter From Our President, John Parham
June 16, 2010 | By: John Parham
UPDATE ON JOHN PARHAM: John ended up getting “the call” saying that the hospital had a lung for him. You can read more on John’s progress by reading “Thank You All For Your Prayers, Kind Words, and Support”, a blog post from the Parham Family.
The American Dream
J&P Cycles® truly is a business representative of the
American Dream. Jill and I started by selling motorcycle parts out of the back of a van from a small town in Iowa. Now, we are the world’s largest retailer of aftermarket parts for motorcycles. It took a lot of work, sacrifices, dedicated employees, a strong family and some luck to get to this point.
The reason I am writing this letter is to hopefully help us all realize the simple things in life truly matter most. I was diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis in the fall of 2007 (I never smoked cigarettes). Pulmonary Fibrosis is a lung disease, where your lung tissue becomes scarred and dies, never growing again. I have had 55 percent lung capacity since 2007, at least until March 16, 2010. That was the day I was admitted to the hospital for emergency colon surgery. That surgery went well, but in recovery, I got pneumonia and spent 33 days in Intensive Care as well as another 19 days in the hospital for a total of 52 days. My lungs are now damaged further and I am on oxygen at all times. I have had to learn how to swallow food and liquids all over again. I have never worked so hard in my whole life as I have in the last 10 weeks. I can walk short distances up to 75 feet, but then my oxygen levels drop to very low levels. My only hope to live is a lung transplant. Why am I telling you all this? It is not to feel sorry for me. I am a fighter; I want to live. Jill and I have way too many things we still want to do. One is watch our grandchild, Kaiden grow up.
But through these last two months, I have realized how important certain things in life really are. My family has provided never ending support and has always been there for me, especially Jill. My friends have, as well. I have seen friends in the last 10 weeks, I haven’t seen in years, and have received cards from all over the world. It really makes you realize how lucky you are. Believing in God and praying for strength to continue to keep going everyday is important. I had a lot of people praying for me and I appreciate it so much.
When you think about it, the most important thing is your health. You have to take care of yourself. Then, you need your family, friends and faith to help support each other.
As I laid in the intensive care unit, I dreamed of such simple things like being at home to sit on my front porch to smell the grass and hear the birds sing. It’s amazing how one’s priorities change when faced with a severe illness. So, please take time to think about all the things in your life that are important then look at them again if the doctor told you that you only had one year to live.
If you haven’t seen the movie “Bucket List” with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, it’s a good movie. Maybe a little extreme with things they were able to do, but Jill and I created a bucket list three years ago and now we are on our second list. Many of the things were quite simple, but we just never took the time to do them before.
Last year Jill and I were married for 35 years and J&P Cycles® had their 30th year in business with over 22,000 people attending our Open House. My next dream is in the works right now as we remodel a 36,000 square foot former Wal-Mart building off of Highway 151 and move the National Motorcycle Museum to this location. We will have the Arlen Ness, Awesome-Ness exhibit as well as many other motorcycle exhibits on display during the J&P Cycles Open House this year.
The final thing I want to talk about is becoming an organ donor. Let’s face it, we love to ride motorcycles and with that comes a higher chance of getting hurt or killed in a traffic accident. If you are not already, please consider signing up to be an organ donor. There are thousands of people on waiting lists to receive an organ transplant. Some even die before one becomes available. It’s like giving the gift of life to someone else. To find out more about organ donation visit: www.organdonor.gov. Next, click on the header “Be a Donor” then “how to register to be a donor in your state.” From there, you will be directed to specific information for your state on how you can become a donor.
Jill and I wish to thank you for your business all these years. Motorcycles have been my life for almost 34 years. I cannot think of a better industry to be in. We have made so many friends and have met so many wonderful people and customers over the years. Motorcycle people are real – what you see is what you get. And, they are the most generous, loyal, honest and helpful people you will ever meet.
God bless all of you!