My father raised myself and my two siblings working two jobs as an electrical engineer for Northrop Grumman as well as a grocery clerk to support us and my mother. He was active in aikido, golf, and anything really. It wasn’t until he retired 4 years ago that we started noticing small changes in his memory as well as his state of mind. He had difficulties remembering, was having hallucinations, and was not able to sleep. At the beginning, a lot of doctors attributed his symptoms to stress and anxiety coming from retirement, so it wasn’t until we started to notice changes in his posture and the way that he walked that we began to question his diagnosis.
After almost two years of repetitive doctors appointments, sleepless nights, anxiety, confusion, and wondering what could have caused the progressive change in both my fathers physical and cognitive abilities, my father Mario, 63 at the time, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in May 2016.
Since then my mother, siblings, family, friends, and myself have tried to assist my father and the change this disease has caused not only him, but my whole family. He has received both occupational therapy through my employer and good friend Molly Piekut (through advanced occupantional therapy services) as well as physical therapy. My siblings and I take turns taking him to the doctor while my mother helps take care of him on a day to day basis and she has been crucial to aiding with whatever my father needs. My father has remained strong throughout his diagnosis and has not let this disease be a label on him. He remains positive and looks forward to running around with his first grandson and walking me down the aisle to my wonderful fiancé at my wedding next September.
I want not only my father to take part in this walk, but all of his family and friends to show what a strong support system he has and will continue to have. If you can come join us for the walk great!!! If not, if you can please donate any amount to help support research to find a cure for this disease that not only affects the body but the mind and not only the individual, but the family.
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Every 9 minutes someone is diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.
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