Daniel J. Plaskett
In 2011 The Litchfield
County BMX Group Inc., awarded the first annual D.J.P. Memorial
Award. This was set up to honor the memory of the son
of one of our founders Rog Plaskett. It also was in
recognition of the need to improve awareness of a dreadful
disease called "AMN".
In his teenage days,
Daniel Plaskett competed in BMX events both locally
He was also one
of the volunteers who helped clear the land and build
Foothills BMX. He was here on a regular basis throughout
the Track’s construction. In our early years he
even filled in as our announcer on occasion.
Greg and Dan Plaskett clearing
the front straight
BMX was just one of the many
sports Dan enjoyed while growing up, along with skiing, snowboarding,
baseball, basketball, golf and fishing to name a few.
To Dan, BMX was about being there and competing, rather
Dan at Brodie Mountain in 1992
Perhaps this was a testament
to Dan’s courage, something he carried with him
in the last days of his life. Dan was diagnosed at 14
(1989) with Addison’s disease, which sapped his
adrenalin, making it difficult for him to participate
in sports. He was put on life-long medications but told
he would enjoy a long normal life.
Rog and Dan in 1990
At the age of 27, (2002) Dan,
after complaining of sore knees and weak legs, was diagnosed
with Adrenomyeloneuropathy or "AMN". Adrenomyeloneuropathy
is a rare inherited metabolic disorder that affects
approximately 30,000 people globally. Its symptoms are
very similar to those of progressive Multiple Sclerosis
(MS). If cerebral involvement occurs, which happens
in 50% of the cases, the outcome is nearly 100% terminal.
Dan had this cerebral involvement.
Dan was able to work up until
2006. It was at that time that mobility and even concentration
affected his actions. In 2007 he was forced to relinquish
his driver's license.
Dan and Greg
rockin Guitar Hero in 2008
the year 2009 Dan was confined to a wheelchair. Occasionally
he used an electric scooter to get around but was losing
the balance and coordination required to safely control
In early 2010 he was under the
care of a long term facility in Bristol where he received
much needed 24 hour medical attention.
Only 7 months later, on July
20th, 2010, after an 8 year battle, Dan succumbed mercifully
to this terrible illness. Sometime during this entire
ordeal it was learned that AMN can develop in later
years with kids with Addison’s disease.
When he first learned that he
had AMN, Dan began doing on-line research. He learned
that the outcome was untimately death, which was devastating for
him and the family. "Watching Dan's motor-skills
slowly but methodically fade to the point where he could
no longer walk, talk or even swallow, was the most heart
wrenching situation that I've ever experienced."
Rog Plaskett said. Dan showed some incredible resilience
to the situation. Twice after the diagnosis, he climbed
into an airplane and skydived. He also participated
in some paint ball battles where his brother Greg would
virtually carry him into the woods and Dan would lay
in wait for an opposing team member to try and sneak
by. He tried to make the best of his dire situation.
When Dan passed, Rog Plaskett
and his wife, Donna, planted a tree in the front yard
of their Harwinton home, The tree, a Japanese maple,
was put there in Dan’s memory.
“Maybe that tree will
enjoy the good health and steady growth that Dan never
could,” Rog said. “Maybe it’ll stand
strong, like Dan wished that he could have.”
This award and annual Daniel
J. Plaskett Memorial Race were created in honor of Dan
and his courage.
Each year the Litchfield County
BMX Group Inc makes a donation in Dan's name to The
United Leukodystrophy Foundation, 224 North Second Street,
Suite 2, DeKalb, IL. 60115.
The Daniel J. Plaskett Award
is given annually to a Foothills BMX rider who shows
great love and dedication to the sport of BMX.