COMMUNITY, SUPPORT & BOXING: One couple’s recipe for PD success
After experiencing rigidness and fatigue, Lynda was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD) at the age of 54. Like many people in her position, she was in denial at first. Fortunately, her husband of 22 years, Michael, was not only there to be her solid support system — but her care partner as well.
The two began their PD journey together and set out to learn as much as they could about the disease. After a movement specialist told Lynda that she could fight PD with exercise, she and Michael became coaches at Rock Steady Boxing — an exercise program designed specifically for people with PD that can help manage symptoms.
Lynda and Michael also became APDA PRESSTM facilitators in their community. PRESS, short for Parkinson’s Roadmap for Education and Support Services, is an American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA) signature program that covers a set curriculum each week to set members up for a successful PD journey. The couple is passionate about helping others and enjoys expanding their knowledge about PD at the same time. “PRESS helps us stay up to date on all the new developments regarding PD. Everyone shares what they know and we all learn something. Giving back to the PD community is very fulfilling,” says Lynda.
On top of making a difference in their community, Lynda and Michael have been given a new perspective on life. They remain positive and find strength in each other, all while cherishing every moment they spend together.
With Michael by her side, Lynda knows she never has to face challenges alone. The healthy communication between them helps Michael understand that Lynda will need his help at times, but maintaining Lynda’s independence is important as well.
Being a care partner for a loved one with PD can be challenging at times. Michael shares that he finds motivation in Lynda’s commitment to keeping her PD symptoms at bay. “Her regimen of exercises and other Parkinson’s related activities is pretty amazing,” Michael explains. Despite Michael being Lynda’s care partner, their marriage always comes first.
“She’s my life partner, my wife, my best friend, and I happen to be her care partner.” — Michael
After living with PD for more than 10 years, Lynda knows just how many misconceptions there are about the disease. She wants more people to know that PD is more than just tremors, and oftentimes the invisible symptoms are just as significant. She also wishes more people were educated on the many ways to fight the progression of PD.
Lynda and Michael are grateful for the work APDA is doing for the PD community. “APDA has been there with trusted information,” the couple explains. “The education and programming provided by APDA can make the difference between continuing to be able to move or not.”
Whether providing groups like PRESS, hosting in-person and virtual exercise classes, or simply being a source of support and information, APDA is proud to be there for people like Lynda and Michael.