Hello from Canada!  It is a real honor for me that Steve Wright and the gang at Northwest Parkinson Foundation have asked me to be a regular contributing writer for this blog.  It is my hope that whatever your connection to the conversation around Parkinson’s Disease you will be encouraged to ‘Live Your Best’ by my contributions.

So who am I and why should you come back to read my musings?  Well, only time will tell of the value of my musings but by training I am a Registered Nurse and I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in February of 2011.  And then there is that little ditty of a reality television show that my son Tim Jr. and I won; The Amazing Race Canada!

Winning ‘The Race’ as we affectionately call it has provided me an amazing opportunity to speak about and bring attention to Parkinson’s Disease in general and specifically Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease. Even more important to me is the chance it has given me to offer encouragement to those of us living with the disease.

Now you should know early on that I do not consider myself an expert on Parkinson’s or likely anything else I share with you.  I’m a guy living with Parkinson’s who has never been short on opinion or willingness to share it.  Read as you will and act on what you find here at your own peril!  Always seek professional opinion prior to mimicking anything I say or do!

We might as well deal with the elephant in the room first…The Amazing Race Canada…and how I came to be on the show.  My wife is a fanatic about The Race.  She always said if the show ever came to Canada that we would apply. When it finally arrived she discovered that we would have to be gone for five weeks with no contact with our four children two of which were fifteen year old twins.  No one in their right mind does this.  Thus she argued that my eldest son, Tim Jr., and I should apply saying; ‘You’ll at a minimum get an interview. They will love your Parkinson’s!’  I can’t say that I was impressed by this rationale but was none the less intrigued.  So, we shot our 3 minute Audition Video and sent it in.

The rest is history.

The Race has been one of those rare opportunities that enters ones life that really can’t be properly described.  All I can tell you is that it was one of the most incredible of experiences and has been crazy fun ever since.

Parkinson’s.  Parkinson’s is that singular topic that on the one hand I loathe and wish had never entered my life.  While on the other hand I doubt I would have ever been on The Amazing Race Canada without it.  It has become my dear friend that I hate.  The tremor began in my left big toe and was first noticed on a Saturday morning in August of 2010.  I’ll never forget the day that my life changed.  I was 46 years old and went on to be diagnosed with my father’s disease.  Words will never be able to express how much I don’t want this disease.

I’m 50 now and coming up to my 4 year anniversary of diagnosis.  I’ve learned a few things about me and this disease in these years.  The most important are that, yes, I have Parkinson’s…by the neck.  It does not have me.  It cannot have my life.  I will fight back against this thing with all my strength.  And, this point is incredibly important to me, Parkinson’s does not define me.  I am not Parkinson’s.

I will choose to live my best.  Some days that may look rather ugly.  We all have bad days after all.  But every day I will get up and reclaim my life from PD.  I will live my best.

So, happy new year?  Yes, it is going to be a very Happy New Year!  We’ve lots to talk about and I look forward to our conversation.

Strength & Courage

Tim Sr.

**This Blog was originally share at Northwest Parkinson Foundation