I was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease and Essential Tremor in February 2007 at age 42. The symptoms started five years prior to that, but were not problematic enough to cause great concern. After an initial diagnosis from my local neurologist and a second opinion from the Parkinson's Disease Center and Movement Disorders Clinic in Houston, Texas, I went through a deep depression for several months. After much introspection and prayer, I realized that this disease that had moved in unwanted and uninvited into my life needed to be used for the greater good. I've often said that I had to go through that dark time of my life after diagnosis to realize whom I was and what I was capable of doing in service to others.
In 2008, I became involved with the Parkinson's Disease Foundation's Clinical Research Learning Institute. Twenty five people with PD were invited to find out about the history of clinical trials, their development, trial phases, and disaggregating data on various types of trial results. We were then tasked to go back to our communities and speak to individuals, groups, and anyone else that would be interested in finding out more about clinical trials, specifically PD-related trials. I am also associated with the Parkinson's Action Network as the Texas State Director, with the focus on federal funding for PD-related research, the World Parkinson Congress as an Ambassador for the 2013 WPC to be held in Montreal, Canada, and with the Parkinson's Movement, and organization started by people with PD, for people with PD, with the focus on research that is patient-driven.
I am married and have three daughters and one grandson. I work as an elementary school teacher with a focus on reading intervention programs.