Living with Parkinson’s

According to the data from the American Medical Association over 6 million people globally have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Treatable once diagnosed, Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative disorder that targets dopamine-producing neurons in the substantia nigra, the part of the brain that affects reward and movement. While the exact causes of Parkinson’s Disease remain unknown, there are a number of treatment options available for patients, including medications, various types of therapy, and surgery. It is important for those diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease to remember to stay positive. With treatment and medication, it is possible to have a good quality of life with Parkinson’s.

Symptoms

One of the challenging aspects of diagnosing and treating Parkinson’s is that it often develops slowly with patients often experiencing symptoms gradually. Another problem is that not every patient is the same. The onset of symptoms is often different from person to person because Parkinson’s often adapts to an individual’s neurological system differently.
This symptom is typically seen in about 70% of cases as the first sign that something is going on. The term “resting” is used because the person is doing just that, resting, and has a tremor present. This is different from a “purposeful tremor” that is seen when some individuals attempt to perform a task. A resting tremor usually starts as one finger, hand, or foot moving (on one side of the body) with the inability to control or stop it. This tremor usually stops on its own though when a person begins an action.
The medical term for this is known as Bradykinesia. This is a true feature of Parkinson’s that defines it from other disorders. With this symptom, a person appears abnormally still. This includes movement-related to walking, repetitive actions, and even facial expression. Eventually, it affects the ability to complete daily living activities (buttoning a shirt or brushing teeth) and speech.
The muscles involved usually are located in the neck, shoulders, and legs. The person will experience stiffness that does not let up. The limbs will remain rigid and arms do not swing as normal when walking. This rigidity can be uncomfortable and at times quite painful.
Your posture may become stooped, or you may have balance problems as a result of Parkinson’s disease
In Parkinson’s disease, you may have a decreased ability to perform unconscious movements, including blinking, smiling, or swinging your arms when you walk.
You may have speech problems as a result of Parkinson’s disease. You may speak softly, quickly, slur, or hesitate before talking. Your speech may be more of a monotone rather than with the usual inflections.
It may become hard to write, and your writing may appear small.
Fago Franklin bio picture

Fago Franklin III

Board Member

Fago Franklin III is a member of the media, as well as a publicist. He started as a journalist in 2012 and worked his way up the scales. In 2019, he started interning as a publicist with a small firm and later started his own business called Newsstitched Media.

Newsstitched Media is a combination of maximum exposure on brands, as well as content. Some call him Superman, because he does multiple things in the sports and entertainment industry.

Jeff Maher Bio Picture

Jeff Maher

Board Member

After witnessing Jennifer Cobb’s tireless work with the Michael J. Fox Foundation and Team Gateway To A Cure, Maher knew he wanted to be a part of the foundation.

As an ophthalmologist specializing in cataract surgery, Maher has encountered many Parkinson’s patients throughout his career and witnessed firsthand the multitude of challenges they face along with their caregivers and loved ones.

Jumping at the opportunity to join Team Gateway To A Cure, Maher enjoys the organization’s creativity in finding new ways to highlight Parkinson’s Disease and raise awareness of ways to help patients, families, and caregivers.

Kelly Ott Bio Picture

Kelly Ott

Board Member

A registered nurse specializing in research and hemodynamic monitoring and passionate about improving the outcome of patients, Ott is an Alumni Rams Cheerleader whose dedication to finding a cure became near and dear to her heart after her grandfather passed away from complications resulting from Parkinson’s disease.

Tim Petterson Bio Picture

Tim Peterson

Board Member

After spending more than two decades creating and running successful businesses in Missouri and Illinois, Petterson looked for ways to give back to his community. Empowered by Jennifer Cobb’s enthusiasm, determination, and energy he wanted to become involved with Team Gateway To A Cure.

A former music director, event coordinator, and musician for the St. Louis Blues, Petterson turned his focus to bringing the Blues together with the Michael J. Fox Foundation and Team Gateway To A Cure. Proud to be involved with something that makes people feel good inside, Petterson enjoys watching the smile the foundation puts on people’s faces.

Tim Brunette

Director of Strategic Planning

As the Director of Strategic Partnerships for Team Gateway To A Cure, Brunette brings over twenty years of experience building Strategic Partnerships through sales, marketing, new business development, promotions, and advertising.

Having worked for Anheuser-Busch, NBC Universal Studios, Paramount Pictures and as an independent Media Consultant for over ten years, Brunette has also volunteered with The Albert Pujols Family Foundation, Responder Rescue, the Special Olympics, and as a coach for CYC (Catholic Youth Council).

Jennifer Cobb Bio Picture

Jennifer Cobb

Founder/Executive Director

Jennifer’s mission to empower those suffering from and caring for people with Parkinson’s after her father, Dad, Ty Cobb, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Inspired to do more, she became involved with the Michael J. Fox Foundation, creating Soul to Sole, a 5K Run/Walk that raises money and awareness for Parkinson’s disease. Raising over $50,000 over two years she knew she could do more to get a message of support for families and patients who suffer from this chronic disease.

Outside of Soul to Sole, Jennifer wanted to bring some fun to charity events, while also giving, education, and most importantly, support to the families and the patients that are suffering from Parkinson’s. For Cobb, education is power but so is fun. “When mixed together they make life that much better.”