MOMENTS OF VICTORY® – Jerry Boster Works Hard to Live Well with Parkinson’s

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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.”

Jerry Boster - Davis Phinney Foundation

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.


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.  

Submit Your Moments of Victory 

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Thank you to Supernus for sponsoring Moments of Victory posts in 2022 that highlight our Ambassadors.

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