Tom and Ceil often mention to others that the Parkinson's Foundation is a part of their team that helps Tom manage his Parkinson’s disease (PD). His team includes Ceil (Tom’s wife), Dr. Mentreddi (movement disorder specialist), as well as his primary care physician, optometrist, dermatologist and urologist.
Tom’s advice to anyone newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s is to start building your team. “Everyone's experience with PD is going to be different,” Tom said. “Everyone's team helping them fight PD will be a little different, but forming a team, including a movement disorder specialist, if possible, still seems to be the best advice we can give.”
Beyond Ceil and the medical team, Tom's team also includes his family and friends, and last but not least, local organizations like the Dallas Area Parkinsonism Society (DAPS) and national organizations like the Parkinson's Foundation.
Like most teams, each player performs a specific role. The Parkinson's Foundation has provided important information and resources to them, especially before, during and after Tom's deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery in 2020. “In particular the Parkinson's Foundation webinars were especially beneficial,” Tom said. “These sessions were vital in helping us make the decision to have DBS surgery, and also provided important information to prepare for the surgery.”
Tom and Ceil also found that the Parkinson's Foundation personally connected them with other people with Parkinson's, and the community of individuals working to make the lives of people with Parkinson's better, and to eventually find a cure.
January marked 12 years since Tom's diagnosis. Since that time, they have been pleased to see how the Moving Day DFW event has developed to allow others to connect with the Parkinson's Foundation. They already look forward to this year’s event.
Ceil serves on the Moving Day DFW committee. Tom serves on the Advisory Board of the Parkinson’s Foundation South Central Chapter, having left his work with AT&T as Assistant Vice President and Senior Legal Counsel in 2020.
While attending their first Volunteer Leadership Summit in 2019, they were fortunate to meet Jim Beck, Chief Scientific Officer of the Foundation, who sat with them at breakfast one morning. It was one of the highlights of the summit for them as he summarized some of the exciting Parkinson’s research in a way that they could truly understand in a few short minutes. This was the type of personal connection that helped make the Parkinson's Foundation part of their team.
Their Moving Day team is called “Team Gratitude." Their team shirts have the following prayer printed on the back — "May each of us in all things great and small, learn to live in a continuous state of love and gratitude as the years go by. Amen." Each day (especially on the hard days) they try to find something for which they are grateful.