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.
Betty Strom was never her Parkinson’s. As the disease made her world ever smaller, her courage and soul expanded. A few days before her death in 2011 at age 80, she begged to join her neighbors in a field trip to Underwater World. That was my mom.