Jim Peters - Chipping in for Parkinson's

Chipping in for Parkinson’s with a custom fundraiser

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Jim Peters sensed something was wrong before an official Parkinson’s diagnosis. As an always active person involved in running and golf, Jim was well aware of his body and the suspicious gradual changes to his health.

It’s common for twitches to be mistaken for nervousness or dizzy spells caused by skipping a meal, but after a series of events specific to Jim, he began asking questions. “It started with shaking,” Jim recalls, “then became a tremor in my lower lip, followed by one in my left thumb.” After consulting with his doctor, he underwent a series of scans, including an MRI. It wasn’t until confirmed by his neurologist that Jim was diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

Despite already experiencing symptoms prior to an official diagnosis, Jim became depressed and had difficulty dealing with this new information. Jim remembers, “It really stuck with me. It was a dark time.” Although depression is common with Parkinson’s, Jim was fortunate to be supported by his wife and four daughters. “It’s like my life flashed before my eyes. At 54, I wondered how my life would be at 80 with Parkinson’s. I was desperate at that stage. Researching online to find a cure until I realized I didn’t have to live the next 30 years all at once.”

From then on, Jim was determined to live his life one day at a time. “The good thing about Parkinson’s is there is time. You’re told it’s a degenerative disease that progresses, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Like a graph, you will have periods of decline and improvement, so enjoy the good days and tolerate the bad, but know there is always a better day ahead.”

Jim, now 67, also recommends staying active. “If you went for a run today, go for a run tomorrow. Even in aging, we experience gradual decline, we don’t run as far or as fast, but exercise is terribly important. For me running, boxing or any high-intensity activity is good. Walking is good too. Whatever you can do, you should keep doing.”

In staying active, it’s good to keep the mind active as well. Jim, an accountant since 1985, still works from home with some minor adjustments to his schedule. “If I’m having a bad day, I balance the workload. I’m fortunate to be able to work on my own. It gives me the flexibility I need.” Although Jim works from home, he still experiences common misconceptions about Parkinson’s. “When someone sees you shaking, they think your brain is shaky too. They equate physical ability with cognitive ability. One day I want to make a t-shirt that says: Yes, I know I’m shaking. I got over it now it’s your turn.”

Unfortunately, from experience, Jim knows newly diagnosed people tend to change their lifestyle and go into hiding. “Getting past self-consciousness is not easy. But, the more people see people living with Parkinson’s, the more awareness will develop.”

In sharing his story and raising awareness for Parkinson’s, Jim is excited to get out there and have “a chance to be included in the conversation.”

Fundraising Your Way – Create a Custom fundraiser

To raise money for people impacted by Parkinson’s, Jim Peters and his daughter Rebecca started an annual golf tournament: Chipping in for Parkinson’s. If you are passionate about something, put your fundraising ideas to work and set up your own Custom fundraiser.