Brenda was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2010 at the age of 72. A retired teacher living in Boulder, Colorado, Brenda was an avid traveler and athlete, skiing, cycling, and hiking across the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia at the time of her diagnosis. As shocking as it was hearing the words, “You have Parkinson’s,” she remembers also feeling relief, as there was now a direction to follow. She realized immediately that coping with this degenerative disease would be a lifelong challenge, especially as someone living alone. In a relatively short time, Brenda became active in the local Parkinson’s community, taking advantage of the many exercise classes like boxing, dance, yoga, and boot camp, as well as attending the local support group, informal coffee discussions, and a women’s support group. She was inspired by the determination and stamina of many of the participants to fight Parkinson’s, as well as their refreshing sense of humor.
Brenda’s goal is to continue challenging herself in order to live independently, staying disciplined in exercising, informed on recent research and programs, and involved by reaching out to others to give support as well as to receive it. She acknowledges the positive changes this unexpected disease has brought, explaining: “Parkinson’s has forced me to slow down, become more mindful of my surroundings, more compassionate and less demanding of myself and others. I am more appreciative of what I can still do as well of all that I experienced in the past.”