Matthew Hanzlik’s Story | People Living with Parkinson's

My Parkinson’s story began when my mom, Sharon, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease when I was in high school. My mom is an ongoing source of motivation and inspiration for me because of her never-ending positive attitude about living with Parkinson’s.  She has taught me to ‘live in the now’ because right now, this very moment, is always something we can control.  My family made our Parkinson’s journey over the past 8 years a lemons-to-lemonade story because my mom wouldn’t have it any other way.

Parkinson’s is a family disease, and it affects everyone who cares about the patient.  After my mom was diagnosed, it was important for me to learn about the disease so I could help my mom with her journey.  I started volunteering and meeting other Parkinson’s families.  I would encourage anyone starting their own Parkinson’s journey to volunteer and become active in the fight against Parkinson’s.  This will help you feel in control of your journey.

As with any diagnosis of Parkinson’s, my mom Parkinson’s has changed over the past 8 years with new symptoms becoming more visible.  These changes are not frightening or scary to me because one thing has not changed — my mom’s positive attitude.  My mom takes a new symptom or an off-day in stride and simply explains “I have Parkinson’s, and each day is different with this disease.”

Parkinson’s disease is tough, but people with Parkinson’s, their caregivers, and family members are even tougher.

Hanzlik is a member of the National Parkinson Foundation Board of Directors and serves on the Executive Committee. 
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