Everyone who has had a family member affected by Parkinson’s disease knows how devastating it can be.
I saw the effects firsthand with my dad, Robert, who suffered from Parkinson’s and died in 2014 after a long battle with the disease.
It was difficult to watch my dad, who took pride in working hard all his life and caring for our family, slowly begin to struggle with basic tasks. It grew even harder for him and our family when he began to realize that a shift was taking place in his life in which others would have to care for him.
I wanted to share my story because it’s important for people to know that Parkinson’s, a neurodegenerative disease that can affect a person’s movement and cognition, impacts more than a million people in the United States.
And it’s important to know the warning signs, including tremors, loss of smell, or difficulty sleeping, so people can get the appropriate care.
That’s why I’m proud Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is joining the Kirk Gibson Foundation, and The Michigan Parkinson Foundation for a year-long awareness and fundraising campaign to support additional clinical research toward a cure for Parkinson’s. Raising awareness and funds to find better treatment also brings hope for a cure.
And I’m honored that my wife, Amy, and I will serve as Executive Chairs this fall for “Everybody versus Parkinson’s,” a fundraising event that supports the work of both the Kirk Gibson Foundation for Parkinson’s and the Michigan Parkinson Foundation.
In addition to funding research, we sincerely hope this year-long campaign will help more people and their families learn the facts of the disease, understand that they are not alone and get the care they need.
Stay tuned for more details throughout the year, and I hope you will join me, Blue Cross and our foundation partners in the fight against Parkinson’s.
Photo credit: ehrlif