Even as I walk slow, stumble, and fall I will not give up or walk back but rather press on to the finish line.
As the Parkinson’s community commemorated another great walk in beautiful Central Park -New York, I thought of all the past achievements in the field which have allowed us to be here; yet it was with a heavy heart that I made a mental note acknowledging how far we still have to go despite all the advances in treatments since levodopa was first discovered.
This was an exhilarating time for most in attendance, in one of my favorite cities in the world, celebrating those living with Parkinson’s while raising awareness and funds for a cure. However, for me the past week was a time of mixed emotions. Now more than ever, I wish I had a magic wand or pill that could erase all the disabilities and signs of wearing left behind by a relentless and unforgiving neurological disease especially in those who are near and dear to me- my friends. I have been involved in the care, research, and advocacy of Parkinson’s patients and their disease for nearly twenty years; yet this was the first time in a very long time in which Parkinson’s felt truly personal causing a deep sinking feeling in my chest despite the fact that I too live with the disease on a daily basis. This tugging of my heart has led to a renewed sense of purpose to aid those who suffer Parkinson’s around the globe.
Seeing my close friends battle Parkinson’s, my life long passion and now my Achilles heel, inspired within me a new sense of urgency and determination to persevere and work for a better tomorrow. Despite their tremors, dyskenisias, dystonias, and gait abnormalities these courageous individuals are determined to live life gracefully to its full extent. Because of them we must improve the quality of lives of all people with Parkinson’s providing better support systems, better access to healthcare as well new opportunities for self expression and meaningful contribution to society.