In the autumn of 2009, at the age of 42, upon returning from a military deployment to Iraq, I was diagnosed with young onset Parkinson's Disease (YOPD), a degenerative neurological disorder for which there's currently no known cure. I first noticed a tremor in my left hand about 4 years earlier in the summer of 2005 after playing in an all-day beach volleyball tournament, thinking it was just due to fatigue. My symptom progression has been slow, but steady over the years. I was blessed to be a candidate for Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) Therapy in 2016 and 2017, which has given me good symptom control on lower levels of medication.
One of my main goals is to develop a network of volleyball aficionados who share my desire to stay connected to the sport they love. I also hope to increase my overall physical fitness activity by joining with other existing groups who realize the benefit that diet and exercise have in helping to slow the progression of PD. A good friend of mine, Jason Cash, challenged me to run a Spartan event with him, so I began to do some research.
I recently discovered Team PAPA D (Powering Against Parkinson's Disease) started by Dan Morris, a fellow PD warrior who enlisted a group of his friends and family to participate in Spartan races. In 2018, his team raised over $300,000 for Parkinson's research. I felt inspired to join his team in their June 2019 event.
I am lucky that I have a very supportive family and group of friends who inspire me to stay positive as we move forward through life, all of us with our own unique conditions and challenges to battle.
An estimated five million people worldwide are living with Parkinson’s disease — the second most common brain disease. In the United States, 60,000 new cases will be diagnosed this year alone. There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease…yet.
Your gift will make a real difference: 100 percent of all funds raised will go directly to The Michael J. Fox Foundation’s high-impact research programs.
Please consider helping us close the gap on a cure by making a donation today! Thank you!
Better the Ball,