By Kathy Hobart and Janie Baldi
My husband Jim Hobart and I (Kathy) have had the pleasure of meeting many interesting, intelligent, talented, and fun-loving people through a choral program, ParkinSonics. “ParkinSonics is a unique program for people with Parkinson's disease. The program explores how singing fosters voice quality” according to Hopkins Medicine. We met Roy and his wife and care partner Sandy through this wonderful program during our car-pooling rides to the weekly ParkinSonics rehearsals on Wednesday afternoons.
Roy is a true Parkinson’s Warrior. Roy quips that he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s “at the turn of the century!” His journey with Parkinson’s began while during a Tai Chi session where Roy noticed that his chin was “quivering”. About the same time, Sandy observed that his movements were not as fluid as they used to be. Roy suspected at that time that he most likely had Parkinson’s because the symptoms mirrored his dad’s, who also had PD. Roy was an active guy before his diagnosis and enjoyed boating on his 26 foot sailboat and other outdoor activities. His diagnosis has not slowed him down at all. Roy still goes skiing. Roy uses a Sit Down Bi Ski which allows Roy to sit down, maintain his balance and conquer the slopes, all the while enjoying the snow and the great outdoors. While not a skier, Sandy uses her time in the lodge to catch up on her reading or hone her writing skills. Roy is able to enjoy the benefits of exercise, fresh air and independence, mobility and fun! In addition to Skiing, Roy “trikes” on nearby trails and pathways. Sandy walks the paths as well but generally Roy gets farther than Sandy and has to circle back. Parkinson’s doesn’t prevent the couple from traveling. They accompany their son to Colorado and in the past few years have attended the Boston Marathon where they are able to “witness” their son “in the pack” as he swiftly moves past them on the iconic marathon route. Their son, Josh, is an avid runner and completes the marathon around the 3-hour mark (that is pretty darn good)! Roy even staffed a water station on the Boston route which he describes as “quite a unique experience.”
Roy takes advantage of other specialized activities designed to meet the needs of those patients with Parkinson’s. Such programs include Rock Steady Boxing and special Spin Classes (stationary bicycles). Exercise is one of the most beneficial non-medicinal therapies for people facing the challenges of Parkinson’s. Wheelchair and all, Roy marches forward in a zest for life that is amazing to watch. Roy and Sandy’s positive attitude, sharp wit, and sense of humor are inspirational. They not only set a tremendous example for PD patients and their care partners but for all of us. Life is to be treasured and lived and Sandy and Roy know just how to do it.
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Stories from the Parkinson's Warrior Archive
Volume 1, Issue 1: The Dreibelbis Family, April 2017
Volume 1, Issue 2: The Schaefer Family, May 2017
Volume 1, Issue 3: John Cernosek, July 2017
Volume 1, Issue 4: The Hayes Family, August 2017
Volume 2, Issue 1: Ryan's Story, March 2018
Volume 2, Issue 2: Nicole's Story, April 2018
Volume 2, Issue 3: Mike's Story, May 2018
Volume 2, Issue 4: Genevieve's Story, June 2018
Volume 2, Issue 5: Aliya and Sara's Story, July 2018
Volume 2, Issue 6: Sydney's Story, August 2018
Volume 2, Issue 7: Cédric's Story, September 2018