When diagnosed with an illness, a person can react in many different ways.  When James York received the news in August of 2011 at the age of 58 that he had Parkinson’s, he made the decision to remain positive.  Like anyone, bad days do come, but James says he has a way of refocusing himself.   When he feels the emotions getting the best of him, he likes to go get an Icee.

James’ Neurologist told him about the Parkinson Foundation of Oklahoma.   James has attended the Young Onset Support Group, the Loud Crowd and the Choir.   The Loud Crowd has helped him with projection of his voice.

James is known around the Foundation as one of the top Fundraisers.   In fact, James won the first ever Pat Davis Award for the top fundraiser at the Oklahoma City Parkinson’s Rally Walk & 5k in 2018. He desires to help spread the word of the activities of The Parkinson Foundation of Oklahoma and to bring awareness to the illness.  Every year for the 5K walk, James sets a lofty goal, and every year he has surpassed his goal.  He asks his family, friends, businesses, and his small group at church to donate.  So far, he has raised around $20,000.   His goal for the walk in 2019 is $7500 and I have no doubt he will surpass that.

When I asked James what advice he has for those just starting out on their Parkinson’s journey, he stated they should never give up.  Know that exercise is the best medicine.   He wants Parkinson’s patients to take full advantage of all that the Foundation has to offer.  Make sure you go to a support group and the Loud Crowd.  James also wants you to feel free to talk to him.  He is definitely willing to talk about his journey and will share his insight and encouragement.   Trust me, you cannot resist his smile.

-by Shelly Stierlen, Volunteer