This post comes to you from Sonya Paclob, one of my co-workers in York, Pa. She covered a Parkinson’s exercise group and I invited her to share her experience with you.
Every week at the York Daily Record, my job is to check into the weekly paper and pick a hyperlocal event to cover. The event was Parkinson’s exercise at a church which offered free exercises to patients and caregivers.
I talked to a Don Neiman on the phone who has Parkinson’s and also a volunteer instructor for the group. I went to the church. He greeted me with a delightful smile, he shook my hand and walked just fine for someone who has the disease for eight years.
He believes a combination of exercise and daily medications keeps the disease at bay. He still sometimes locks up and freezes on one side. I didn’t see that in him.
I have never experienced Parkinson’s before in my life. I did research about the disease, but I didn’t know what to expect at the group. All I knew at the time is people would shake uncontrollably. I didn’t want to be that person to assume or be ignorant about the situation. That is why I became a journalist. To learn and to also share what I learn with others. So, I met the people at the exercise group.
A woman specifically didn’t want to be photograph of fear of her family knowing or even her work. I’m sad to know that there’s a fear of someone knowing about the complications. Neiman explained to me that employers knowing about their disease could place them in a bad situation. They could be laid off or worse. I didn’t want that for her. She came to exercise to control herself in hopes to live a normal life. I hope her situation gets better.
A few weeks later, I called Neiman to check if saw the article in the newspaper and the video online. To my delight, he received more patients to join in the exercise because of the exposure.
His comments makes my job worthwhile. I can imagine his smile when he told me the good news.