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Gil Thelen

It is possible to live well with Parkinson’s disease.

Before Parkinson’s, I had a successful career as a news writer, editor, and educator. I was happily married and had a wonderful family. I had a really full life. But, in 2014, after a very confusing 6 months of symptoms, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. I knew very little about it. My first reaction was ‘What is going to happen to me? What’s going to happen to my family?” Like most people who received this diagnosis, I was left in the dark. There was no place for resources. But I had an enormous advantage. I was a reporter. I was an editor. So i went out to report on this disease and learn as much as I could about it.

That's when I became a patient advocate for people with Parkinson's. My goal is to increase education and help find support measures for people suffering with this. Parkinson’s gave me a new purpose. I started writing a blog about the disease, which eventually led to my book: "Counter Punch: Sparring With Parkinson's”.

Today, my primary focus is to figure out how to make contact with people who’ve been recently diagnosed and turn them on to the resources. I want people to know Parkinson’s is not a death sentence. It is possible to "live well" with it. I am doing so now.