Steven Hollander from Baltimore, MD
Nominated by Linda Giorgilli Rice
There is one man I won’t miss in nominating. He is Steven Hollander. I met him online after my father died from complications of Parkinson’s disease (PD). I wrote a lot about PD and my dad, sharing my grief and also beginning what was to be my journey into advocacy. Steve was from my hometown, although we did not recall meeting in our past. We knew mutual friends and quickly attracted each other in an almost magnetic way. He first wrote to ask me about my dad. Our delight in sharing with one another grew. Unfortunately, we were miles apart, yet we still dreamt of the possibilities of a world together.
Steve has Young Onset Parkinson’s disease (YOPD). Our online teasing became a serious interest in one another. We were able to meet in Baltimore. We were thrilled that we might have new beginnings to share with one another, but it seems we met at the wrong time in our lives to be able to make things work. This was bittersweet for us, but we remain dear friends.
I nominate Steve because he has had YOPD for over 15 years. He is always positive and determined not to allow PD to get the best of him. He had lived on his own, worked and maintained a productive life seeing each day “as a new challenge,” as he would put it. He is an example for anyone I know who has to live with YOPD, not an easy thing.
Steve has recently had to give up his job and driving. He faces challenges he was hoping would not arrive. Despite these changes in his world, he remains one who comforts me when I am down and always sees things in the best light. Steve is a Superstar in more ways than this nomination might project. He has inspired me and reached my heart. He has also made me understand how Parkinson’s affects young people, in the way that my father (who I was a caregiver for) taught me about PD in the elderly.
How lucky am I to have had two of the most wonderful men in my life? I have my dad, who remains with me in spirit, and Steve, who remains a best friend. Steve Hollander, Superstar. Yes, that is exactly how I see him.