Over 60,000 Americans were diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease last year. Pretty staggering number isn’t it.
Just a few years ago, I was faced with this diagnosis and wasn’t sure what would happen next.

Over 60,000 Americans were diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease last year. Pretty staggering number isn’t it.
Just a few years ago, I was faced with this diagnosis and wasn’t sure what would happen next. I had two choices in front of me. I could sit at home and feel sorry for myself or I could get up, accept this gift keep fighting and help others just like me.
Yes, I called this unbearable disease a gift. Why?
Because I have been given the chance to help others. To share good news, love and compassion for those that I meet. It’s not been easy and it never will be, but this journey is just beginning.
Before I moved back to Carthage I helped host events with Team Fox, a grass roots fundraising organization of the Michael J. Fox Foundation, in Northwest Arkansas by raising awareness about Parkinson’s Disease.
From morning shows, radio, baseball stadiums, support groups and more I helped people understand more about this disease. It was just a few months ago I received a call from the Michael J. Fox Foundation inviting me to meet them and 300 Parkinson’s patients and caregivers in Washington D.C. I gladly accepted even though I was nervous.
We attended two days of training before we were supposed to go to Capital Hill to meet with our legislators.
However, Mother Nature had other ideas. Snow Storm Toby, the fourth winter storm to hit the Northeast this year, landed in Washington D.C the night before we went to the hill.
Although most of us had seen the Capital earlier in the week we were still very disappointed that we were stuck in our meeting room.
We made the most of it too. We began a social media blitz with the help of our family and friends from around the country. From videos, emails, phone calls, Facebook and Twitter messages we began to deliver our message.
We asked for increased Parkinson’s research funding in Fiscal Year 2019. Also for our legislators to support the National Neurological Conditions Surveillance System at the CDC. Congress just passed the Fiscal Year 2018 spending deal that included a $3 billion boost to the National Institute of Health. This is a great start to help find a cure not only for Parkinson’s Disease, but for MS, Alzheimer’s, Dementia and other diseases that affect millions of Americans.
I am extremely grateful that I was able to attend this forum and build friendships with others who battle this disease.
Since April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month, I wanted to end with what Parkinson’s Disease is.
Affecting an estimated 1 million Americans and 10 million worldwide, Parkinson’s disease is the second-most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s and is the 14th-leading cause of death in the United States.
It is associated with a progressive loss of motor control. However, many believe that Parkinson’s only causes you to shake. There are many who have Parkinsons and never shake at all.  Unfortunately there are many symptoms of Parkinson’s including: tremors, slowed movement, rigid muscles, lack of facial expressions, mood swings, impaired posture and balance, speech changes, loss of smell and cognitive issues just to name a few.
There is no cure for Parkinson’s and 60,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the United States alone.