Rich Wildau

Boulder, Colorado

Rich was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2011, at the same age as his father’s diagnosis. Rich retired from a career in psychology, human resources management, and integration of refugees and immigrants. Rich has always been a participant in activities such as skiing, hiking, swimming, and tennis and struggled with the new reality of keeping up with his non-Parkinson’s friends. “All of a sudden, I found myself experiencing the potential for isolation, and it has taken a while to adjust to this new reality and realize that there is nothing I have to prove to others.”

Rich attributes a lot of his success to participating in local Parkinson’s-centric class such as dance, boxing, and voice training, where he can meet members of his community, build relationships, and offer support to those who are dealing with similar challenges. Rich is a member of the Boulder Support Group Planning Committee and has recently formed a monthly meeting called Coffee and Conversation that’s designed for resource sharing and learning in an informal setting.

For Rich, living well with Parkinson’s means “consciously reducing sources of anxiety in my life, and taking advantage of all the things I can still do. It means appreciating the wind in my face on a sunset bike ride and feeling the joy that comes when swimming unwinds my stiff back. It means realizing that I can still play tennis (doubles only) and cross-country ski to my heart’s content (moguls on a black run are no longer necessary). Finally, traveling the world with my life partner is still a reality to be pursued with vigor.”

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