Owen is one of our hardworking and driven clients. He has just recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Despite the diagnosis, Owen has continued to maintain his fitness and active wellbeing and has taken up the challenge to fundraise for research into Parkinson’s. This is Owen’s story in his own words about being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease;
‘ I am one of those people who has to keep moving, always doing something, so when I was diagnosed with PD in 2016 at 53 years old I naturally thought that there would be some serious and immediate life-changing adjustments to be made. Like most people the diagnosis came as a shock, I thought I was experiencing a flare up of an old neck injury and was referred to a Neurosurgeon. He checked me out and, of course, referred me to a Neurologist. The rest is history.
Post diagnosis, the options seemed limited to medication, and resigning myself to the inevitable deterioration that comes with a progressive neurological disorder. However, convinced exercise had to help, I stuck to my routine of exercising daily, playing ice hockey in the summer season, riding my bike, water skiing, PD Warrior classes, DIY, you name it. Allied health professionals for Speech Therapy, Physio and counselling help keep everything on track too.
Well, four years on, I have had to make some of those adjustments, but I am determined to keep moving, and to help myself by being active (and pro-active!). My PD affects physically, with rigidity on my right hand side, soft speech and fatigue, all of these can affect your ability to participate in sport, work, as well as socially. Perhaps the most challenging though is the symptoms that others can’t see like anxiety that saps your confidence and can turn a task that used to be second nature, into a gruelling mental challenge. This also takes a toll on others around you with such high levels of support needed to keep you on track.
Parkinson’s has no cure, nothing that can even slow the progression. We need to find a cure. There needs to be more research into this terrible, and all too common, affliction. My daughter started the fundraising challenge to skate the distance an NHL player skates on average in a season. It’s great for us all as a family to work together at something we all love – and even better – to use it as a means to raise money for much needed research.’
Great work Owen – we wish you all the success with your fundraising!!