Hi I’m Anna Grill.
I am 49 years old.
I am a wife to an amazing guy I met in high school.
I am a mother to two beautiful daughters.
I am a daughter, sister, aunt and friend.
And for the last 11 years, I am a person living with Parkinson’s disease (PD).
It was quite a shock to learn at the age of 38 that the hardly discernible tremor in my left hand was a symptom of young-onset PD. How could that be? I was an active, fit 30-something taking on the world — working full time while successfully balancing the roles of wife and of mother to a 9- and 7-year-old.
Between quickly climbing the corporate ladder and being elected PTA President at my children’s elementary school, there was no room on my TO DO List for Parkinson’s and for the next 10 years I purposefully kept it off that list, keeping it to myself and forging on with life.
Perhaps I was being stubborn and naive, but my girls were too young to understand the complexities of PD and I was the primary breadwinner in the family. I worked extremely hard to become the youngest and only female member on my leadership team at work. I wanted my results, not my disability, to continue to define me at work and in life. For the most part, my symptoms cooperated.
Then, about a year ago, I realized that things needed to change. My symptoms progressed and I needed to invest my time and attention on preserving my health and well-being. I left my 27-year career in management and started managing through the reality that I have a life altering movement disorder that affects not just me, but all those around me.
Opening up about my condition has produced overwhelming support and opened new doors. My friends and family have rallied for me every day since they learned of my challenge and joining Rock Steady Boxing NOVA has provided both great workouts and new friendships.
I would be remiss if I didn’t take a minute to say, having Parkinson’s sucks. Some days are worse than others and every day brings new challenges and unexpected turns, but I choose to keep that from getting me down. I choose to fight. The things that I can’t do don’t keep me from doing the things I can.
This attitude, along with wonderful medical care, support from family and friends and staying active have allowed me to continue to lead a robust and fulfilling life.
Getting introduced to the Parkinson’s Foundation, serving as the Moving Day DC Chair, and receiving the “Rising Star Award” at the National Volunteer Summit is extremely exciting for me. The programs and research that the Parkinson’s Foundation supports are paramount to my continued wellbeing and the wellbeing of the many others fighting PD.
So please contribute to the cause to ensure a bright future for all of us!
Check out Anna’s story in our most recent Moving Day Moments publication and meet the others who help make Moving Day a success.