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Our mom began experiencing symptoms of orthostatic hypotension more than 1o years ago. She sought help from her family doctor and subsequently a team of neurologists.
Next - she developed mild tremors and some difficulty with motor function. She described it once by saying she had to "think about taking steps" - rather than just walking. Her doctors recognized some of the symptoms as "Parkinsonian" and began treating her with drugs that elevate levels of dopamine. She responded favorably and reluctantly accepted the diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease.
Two years ago, she was asked to participate in a study in dysautonomia. The results indicated that she more likely had Multiple System Atrophy - a disease that attacks a persons autonomic nervous system and the involuntary functions it controls. Her doctors described MSA as being under the "Parkinsonian Umbrella" since many of the chemical causes and symptoms are the same.
The disease affected every aspect of her life - from everyday tasks of self-grooming and preparing meals - to missing out on events and travels.
It is heartbreaking to watch someone you love face each day this way.
Through it all, she never complained. She graciously thanked every person who offered her help - from our dad or caregivers who prepared meals to the stranger in the parking lot who helped her out of her car because he recognized her struggle.
She passed away on December 22, 2021. While we grieve her presence, we are grateful that she no longer has to endure the overwhelming challenges of the disease that took so much.
It is our hope that the research being funded by the Michael J. Fox Foundation will spare families the same heartbreak.
We are grateful to all who make a donation in her name <3
The Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson's disease and to ensuring the development of improved therapies for those living with Parkinson's today. The Foundation is the world's largest nonprofit funder of Parkinson's research, with more than $800 million in high-impact research funded to date.Get Involved