I have openly discussed my experience with Parkinson’s disease since the day I was diagnosed. Perhaps I didn’t know better, but I never felt uncomfortable or insecure with my condition. I have been blessed with caring and understanding family and friends and an incredibly accommodating employer. Many people, however, find it very difficult to discuss the disease. It’s as if there is a stigma attached to a condition that more than 60,000 Americans will be diagnosed with this year—adding to the more than 10 million people with Parkinson’s worldwide. I have met many people who, having been diagnosed for years, have not shared their condition with their friends, employers, children or even spouses. I won’t deny that I know some people who believe their jobs have been compromised by having disclosed their diagnosis to their employer, but in today’s era of the Americans with Disabilities Act, thankfully, those situations are increasingly rare.
There’s a camaraderie and comfort in sharing with people who also have Parkinson’s. I find that my best advice comes from friends who share with me their experience with the various meds and treatments available. Comparing notes is something that is only natural. More importantly, however, incredible resources are available to every Parkinson’s patient if they are only willing to break their bounds of silence and reach out. Thousands of people suffer needlessly because they’re unwilling or afraid to speak up and ask for help.
With Parkinson’s Across America, it is Scott’s and my desire to inspire people to begin the conversation about Parkinson’s disease and the incredible resources available to ensure the quality of life that every patient deserves. Through the Parkinson’s Foundation’s resources, a vast amount of information regarding treatment and programs is available to make life better for people living with Parkinson’s. The Foundation’s information is invaluable and, for the most part, free of charge. Please join Scott and me today and begin the conversation with somebody you know whose life has been touched by Parkinson’s disease. Information is as close as your telephone. Dial 1-800-4PD-INFO for the Foundation’s helpline.