My name is Rolando Chaves and in 2005 I was diagnosed with early onset of Parkinson's disease at age 38. My main symptoms include tremors in both hands, my left leg, and lately I have begun to lose my ability to speak. The tremors are now controlled by a Deep Brain Stimulator (DBS) implanted almost three years ago, but unfortunately the DBS has provided no symptomatic relief for my speech. As a member of this community of more than 1.5 million people affected by Parkinson’s in the United States alone, I see it as my responsibility to be one of the “voices” for PD patients all over the world and to join the effort that it will take to find a cure for this debilitating disease.
According to the Wilkins Parkinson’s Foundation, someone is diagnosed with Parkinson's disease every nine minutes. The American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA) is a not-for-profit, voluntary health agency committed to serving the Parkinson’s community through a comprehensive program of research, education, and support. As an example, the Iowa Chapter provides opportunities for patients and care takers to attend exercise classes called “Delay the Disease,” provides funding for more than 20 community support groups and sponsors informational seminars around the state to help ease the burden.
My team – my wife Gina, daughter Kelsey (21), son Braden (19), Nick White (family friend) and I have decided to challenge ourselves by completing a fund raising activity in Spring 2013 in support of the APDA, Iowa Chapter and people affected by Parkinson’s. We are naming this challenge “El Camino for a Cure.” This walk is known around the world as “El Camino de Santiago de Compostela” (The Way of Saint James). The walk is approximately 760 kilometers (500 miles) with 31 stages through varied terrain in the northern side of Spain.
Through many new studies it is more evident that exercise and stress relieving activities are the keys for PD patients to delay the progression of the disease. I hope I can serve as a testament of the need for Parkinson’s patients to get out and exercise every day and reinforce the connections with family and nature.
Every day, with your help, we move closer to a cure for Parkinson’s disease. Every donation makes a difference and no donation is too small. All proceeds go to help the American Parkinson's Disease Association achieve their goals and objectives.
Thank you in advance for your support to this worthy cause!