Welcome to JR's Personal Page
Hello from John "JR" & Amy,
As you may know, I was diagnosed with young/early onset Parkinson's disease in 2012. This was very surprising to my wife Amy and me, but this diagnosis enabled us to finally have an answer for the physical symptoms I was experiencing for over two years. Receiving a Parkinson's diagnosis in my early forties was not something that I wanted to hear, but through God's grace, my family and I are moving forward in living life and "fighting back" against Parkinson's disease.
PD now affects over 1.2 million people in the US and millions more around the world. Around 5-10% of people living with Parkinson's were diagnosed under the age of fifty and are considered Young/Early Onset. I am a member of this group. Unfortunately, Parkinson’s Disease has now become the fastest growing brain disease and statistics show that every 9 minutes in the United States someone is diagnosed with this disease.
For over five years after my diagnosis, I tried to live life as normally as possible. I worked (and still work) full-time, and I approached my life as a husband, father and Cru staff member in much the same way as before I was diagnosed. However, since PD is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease and without a cure, I started to feel a greater impact of the PD symptoms in my body and in my life. With things changing, I sensed the need to connect with others who were living with Parkinson's and for the first time, after my diagnosis I met other people with Parkinson's by joining a support group and started participating in Rock Steady Boxing, which is an exercise therapy program for people with Parkinson's that uses the training exercises that a boxer uses to help lessen the impact of PD on the mind, body and spirit.
I am participating in the Parkinson's Foundation Moving Day for the second time to help raise awareness and funding to improve the lives of people who have been impacted by Parkinson's disease. I have personally benefited from the awareness and funding that Moving Day has brought to the Parkinson's Foundation. This awareness and funding has been used to support a variety of programs, events, educational awareness, and connection to others.
On a personal note, through the help and support of the Parkinson’s Foundation and in cooperation with Duke Neurology and Movement Disorders Center this past February 2021, I was asked to moderate a symposium focused solely on people impacted by Young Onset PD in the Carolinas area. The event was very successful and as a result we were able to launch a support group for people and their care partners/significant others in the Triangle (Raleigh) area and beyond in April 2021. Part of the funding used to help begin this group was provided by the Parkinson’s Foundation Carolinas Chapter and the Moving Day 2020 event, of which I participated in a year ago. We have a solid group of people who are now benefiting from a support group focused on meeting the needs of the YOPD population in our area, Amy and I included!!!
We would like to ask if you would consider sponsoring me for Moving Day in Raleigh, NC on November 6, 2021. And please know, that Amy and I truly value and appreciate your consideration and support.
Thank you and God bless!
John “JR” & Amy Russell