Positive attitude, family man, fighting spirit, and inspiration are just some of the words that come to mind when you think of Rob Rooker. If you have had the pleasure of meeting Rob, then you have likely gotten to witness his infectious smile and see how he makes everyone around him feel welcome. Rob has lived in Lawton, Oklahoma since 1955. He and his wife Sheila, whom he married in 1986, have been blessed with 4 children, 4 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren.
In his younger days, Rob worked for Wonder Bread and Hostess Cakes as the District Sales Manager. He states that “I ate all the twinkies then sold the rest.” It is no wonder that he is so sweet. He eventually retired in 2009.
When Rob was 65 years old, he began to experience stiff muscles in his legs that meant he could barely walk. He also was having issues with his speech. Dr. K diagnosed him with Parkinson’s.
Whatever Rob does, he gives it 125%. He pushes himself to keep going and to stay active. Rock Steady Boxing is his “go to” exercise. Just like all of us, Rob has tough days. In those times, his sweet wife tells him “ you can do it if you have a mind to.” Rob states that Jesus and Sheila are his support system.
Rob currently works as the Southwest Director for the Parkinson Foundation of Oklahoma. He exemplifies the vision of the Foundation, which is inspiring hope and transforming life in Parkinson patients and their families. He is a go-getter and coordinates the Lawton Rally Walk, support group and does a phenomenal job at raising money for PFO. “Rob’s efforts have been essential to the introduction of new programs in SW Oklahoma,” said Bruce McIntyre, Executive Director of the Parkinson Foundation of Oklahoma.
When asked what his advice would be to someone newly diagnosed, Rob said, “None of us had a choice about having Parkinson’s but we have a choice in how we FIGHT BACK. Parkinson’s has changed my life in almost every way possible. So, I battle back at Parkinson’s with everything I have in me and then some. I don’t take out my discomfort on my loved ones or those close to me. I face every new challenge with smiling and get started fighting back.”