Each month, we spotlight Moments of Victory® from people in our community. Today, we are happy to feature Jerry Boster, a Davis Phinney Foundation Ambassador and President of the Hawaii Parkinson’s Association.
What has your experience with Parkinson’s been like since your diagnosis?
I was diagnosed in late 2013 as I was retiring from a 29-year US Navy Career. Since retirement wasn’t a great fit for me, I returned to the workforce full-time in 2014 to work for the senior four-star US Navy Admiral in the Pacific. In 2018, I was awarded the Department of Defense Disability Achievement and Recognition Award. In addition to my full-time day job, I am the volunteer President of the Hawaii Parkinson Association. I am also an Ambassador for the Davis Phinney Foundation, Parkinson Foundation, and Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research along with being a member of numerous Parkinson’s-related councils and committees.
How do you live well each day?
In my position working for the US Navy, I work to keep America safe and advance the national security goals of the United States. At the end of the workday, I shift to my volunteer role as President of the Hawaii Parkinson Association and help the members of the Hawaii Parkinson community live the best lives possible. I usually go to bed each night tired but satisfied.
What do you wish you would’ve known when you were diagnosed with Parkinson’s?
I knew almost nothing when I was first diagnosed; however, the most important thing I learned is that I’m not alone and I can still have a lengthy and fulfilling life even with Parkinson’s. For those people meeting someone living with Parkinson’s—I wish they would focus on the “ability” portion of “disability.” They should look to “what I can do,” not “what I can’t do.”
What do you wish everyone with Parkinson’s knew about living well?
I wish they knew the following:
- You are not alone. You have many brothers and sisters in Parkinson’s out there.
- You must work at living well each day.
- Each day will be different than the last.
- You have to treat the whole person with a balanced approach of medication, exercise, and wellness (i.e., diet and nutrition, mental health, spirituality, intimacy, etc.).
- Share your diagnosis early with those in your close circles.
- Most people aren’t educated about disabilities. People have good hearts and are often well-meaning, but they can say and/or do the wrong things. Help them understand the help you need and when you need it.
- Adapt, improvise, overcome.
Be honest and flexible.
SHARE YOUR VICTORY
Each month, we spotlight people from our Parkinson’s community who embody living well today – what we call Moments of Victory®. Your story, like Jerry’s, could be featured on our blog and Facebook page so others can learn from your experiences and victories.
Thank you to Supernus for sponsoring Moments of Victory posts in 2022 that highlight our Ambassadors.