Bette Willins

Tuxedo, New York

At age 48, I noticed a slight tremor in my left hand. I assumed it was normal since, concurrently, my mother of 84 was experiencing the exact same symptom and wrote it off as a sign of aging. We both shook it off until six months later when we went to see a movement disorder specialist who diagnosed both of us right on the spot.

Although I felt like I was falling apart, my two children gave me the strength to keep going and, unknowingly, inspired me to live well with Parkinson’s. I was confronted with the idea that I could fall apart but that I had a big opportunity to set a powerful example for them. I made a conscious decision to provide a positive outlook, persevere, and make lemonade out of lemons. I strive to be an example to my family and others that when life throws a curve ball (which it often does), you dig your heels in, find your strength, and never, ever lose hope.

To me, living well with Parkinson’s means embracing each day with gratitude and a robust “can-do” attitude. It means choosing optimism and letting the people I love know that I love them. It means making every day count. I was inspired to become an Ambassador to share with others the things I have learned along this sometimes-bumpy road. On a perfect Sunday, you’ll find me on my back patio, enjoying the sunshine and a simple lunch with family, on a walk or hike with them, or simply sharing the day with one another. Those ordinary family days are my favorite kind.

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