He is a celebrity living with Parkinson's disease and on Wednesday night the world saw him in action on ABC’s Designated Survivor.
Michael J. Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson's at just 29-years-old. He continues to fight the disease head on and so do people living with Parkinson's right here in Baltimore.
Parkinson's is a disorder of the central nervous system that slowly starts to take away movement. It happened to John Dunock 9 years ago and 14 for Ken Cochnar. For Dunock it started out with a small tremor but has slowly progressed.
“I don't have the durability or endurance that I used to have, nor the coordination. So a lot of the things that I'd normally do around the house and the yard work, I can't do anymore, said John Dunock.”
For Cochnar it was his wife who noticed the changes.
“I'd say 6 months, I didn't know what was happening, But he'd walk into the room and kind of freeze before he'd walk forward or decide where he was going. So I thought something's wrong, said Barbara Cochnar”
But present day both men are gaining back parts of their lives, all with the help of LSVT BIG and LSVT LOUD at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital. The program is backed by 20 years of research by the National Institutes of Health. The program consists of two parts, big is movement and loud is speech. Each patient does one-on-one training with a certified therapist four times a week for four weeks. Then they take what they learn home with them.
“Do the therapy if you want to continue to be, I hate to say it, all that you’re going to be with the Parkinson’s and continue to function as well as you can, you have to take the therapy. You cannot stop, you have to keep moving, one way or another, said John Dunock.”
The Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson's disease through an aggressively funded research agenda and to ensure the development of improved therapies for those living with Parkinson's today.