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. In doing so, I found and followed my new life passion in yoga, earning my yoga teacher certification.

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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