I am a wife, mother, activist, author and artist. I just happen to have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1998 at the age of 34. I believe that part of the reason that I am still able to be as active as I am after 15 years of living with this disease is that I don’t let it define who I am. The symptoms that bother me the most – speech impacts, and levodopa-induced involuntary movements – are the ones on which I spend the majority of my time working to educate others. That should help build Parkinson’s–friendly communities.Hunt Christensen is a member of the National Parkinson Foundation Minnesota’s Board of Directors and the Minnesota State Director for the Parkinson’s Action Network.
Ross, a cardiologist, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD) six years ago. He first noticed a tremor and weakness on his left side. He recognized what was happening. He had a complete neurologic evaluation, and voluntarily reported his diagnosis to the state Board of Medicine. His employer, his associates, and his neurologist were all supportive.
Liz Ogren is a 5th grade teacher, Bruce’s wife, mother of teenagers Alex and Evan, and companion of her cockapoo Murphy. After being diagnosed with PD in 2007, she briefly became a self-described couch potato.
“My advice to anyone who has recently been diagnosed with PD is to assemble a team that can help and support you as things evolve. Continue to do the things you like, such as being with friends and going to ball games. Stay positive and have a sense of humor. Things will fall into place as you go.”