A former Carthage City Council Member has returned to his home town with a new burden, or “gift” as he calls it, and a new purpose in life.

A former Carthage City Council Member has returned to his home town with a new burden, or “gift” as he calls it, and a new purpose in life.
T.J. Teed is a Sarcoxie native who lived in Carthage for eight years and served on the Carthage City Council for four years, from 2008-2012, before he moved to Northwest Arkansas for his job.
It was in Arkansas four years ago that his life took a dramatic turn.
“I had been experiencing some shaking and tremors in my right hand and we went back and forth to the doctor and I had been misdiagnosed several times on what everyone thought it was,” Teed said. “Finally I made a trip to Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis and was able to see the movement disorder specialist there. I was there for about 15 minutes and they looked at me and said you have Parkinson's Disease.”
Teed said his age was part of the problem when it came to getting an accurate diagnosis. Teed is 37 now, but he was 33 when he was searching for the cause of the tremors in his hand.
“A lot of doctors would look at me and say, you're too young for Parkinson's,” Teed said. “That wasn't the case at all, anybody can get Parkinson's. It typically runs in older people, but that's the thing, I was young onset. I tell people I'm a 37 year old man in an 80-year-old's body. Sometimes that's the way it feels. I'm not able to be as active as I used to be. I get tired very quickly and wish I could run and play with my kiddos like I used to be able to do.”
Teed says he's taking his diagnosis in stride and working to do what he can to help others and help find a cure.
He's a stay-at-home dad for his four kids, Jayden, 11; Abby, 9; Kaitlyn, 7; and Tyler, 4. His wife, Alyssa Teed works for Arvest Bank, that's why the family moved to Arkansas six years ago.
Teed said Arvest worked with his wife to enable her to work from a Carthage bank so the family could move closer to loved ones who could help him when needed.
And next week he's traveling to Washington, D.C., with the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, a foundation created by the actor and comedian, Michael J. Fox, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's at age 29.
In a written release, the foundation said Teed and more than 300 other advocates will meet with members of Congress to “share their stories of the personal impact Parkinson’s disease (PD) has made on their lives and the lives of their loved ones. Delegates will educate lawmakers on the need for federal funding for research toward a cure for Parkinson’s, and policy support for those living with the disease.”
Teed is attending the 2018 Parkinson's Policy Forum, an event supported by the Fox Foundation and nine other Parkinson's organizations across the country.
“The 2018 Parkinson’s Policy Forum will feature two days of training, followed by one day of advocacy, congressional outreach and education to Members of Congress on Capitol Hill,” the Fox Foundation said. “Teed will meet with Senators, Representatives and their staff to talk about the need to provide federal funding for Parkinson’s research programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, and the Department of Defense.”
“I am honored to attend the 2018 Parkinson’s Policy Forum to represent the Parkinson’s community on Capitol Hill on these important issues,” Teed said. “I reach out to my Senators and Representative year-round at town halls and local meetings, as well as through email and phone calls, but the chance to come together with hundreds of people like me, share our journey and show our nation’s leaders what it means to live with Parkinson’s disease is powerful.”