Olympians Fight Parkinson’s: Every Victory Counts


DALLAS, TX. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — The National Institutes of Health says at least half a million Americans live every day with Parkinson’s disease. And 50 thousand more people get it each year. The neurological disease can wreak havoc with lives; tremors, speech and swallowing difficulties. And it has no cure. Sometimes it takes an Olympic-like resolve to fight back. And that’s exactly what one woman and her husband are doing.

It’s heading toward standing room only in Dallas to hear Connie Carpenter Phinney. Yes, she’s an Olympic Gold Medalist in cycling, but this crowd wants to hear how she’s helping another cycling Olympic Medalist, her husband Davis Phinney, cope with his 17-year fight against Parkinson’s. 

“Being an Olympic athlete by comparison is quite easy, much easier than living with a chronic illness, and especially a chronic illness that has no prescribed course.” Said Phinney.

Connie’s message: harness your super powers. Hate the disease, not the patient. And keep practicing patience. The crowd of caregivers, at the Parkinson Voice Project, also heard it’s important not to hide. 

Phinney explained, “A lot of people when they’re diagnosed, they don’t come out, they don’t tell anybody, and it’s because they don’t want to be passed up for promotions at work, especially, if they are young.”

Laura Boyle, a Parkinson’s patient attending the event said, “My biggest take-away was that it’s okay to accept help, and that I need to learn to accept help. I don’t very well, I guess most people don’t. They want to be independent.”

Phinney went on to explain, “it has taught me to really appreciate a good belly laugh. It’s taught me to appreciate when things are going well. It’s taught me to lower my expectations. I think when you lower your expectations, you always exceed them, and so you’re always happy.”

And one more thing: never give up. 

Parkinson Voice Project is located in Texas and provides speech therapy to patients for free, funded by donations. The Davis Phinney Foundation holds events and fund raisers to raise awareness and provide resources for people with Parkinson’s and their caregivers to live well. Their slogan is ‘Every Victory Counts.’

Contributors to this news report include: Don Wall, Producer; Mark Montgomery, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.

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