When I hear the word Parkinson’s, the first image that comes to mind is a long-haired guitar player on stage, captivating the hundreds of people who’d come to hear his band.
His fingers would fly across the frets and he was pretty good at doing a split mid-air while soloing… I even saw him fall off the stage once. He had that bad-boy swagger, and the attitude that life was for living, so why not live it to the fullest?
That was a great attitude because, 10 years after the last show I attended, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at the age of 35.
The diagnosis effectively brought a close to a rising star’s career, but it also set him on a different course that has made a difference, on a local level, for other people with Parkinson’s.
The thing with musicians is we tend to stick together. When one of us falls, we all fall; just like when one of us succeeds, we all win.
This young guitar player began organizing fundraising concerts, and all of his friends contributed their time and efforts to make it happen. Then came auctions of music memorabilia, which raised a significant amount of money. He quietly and without fanfare helped raise awareness about the disease that took the guitar out of his hands.
Parkinson’s affects everyone differently. Some people withdraw from the world, and others continue to take center stage.