Superbowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs player Daniel Sorensen and his family began noticing gradual physical changes in his dad, Kory, who was soon after diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD). The family was stunned.
“This was the most amazing man in the world to us ― so strong, always active and a coach to me and my five siblings growing up,” Daniel said. Suddenly, Kory seemed to age 10 years in three months, grew weaker on one side of his body and had restless legs that prevented him from sleeping. The family began looking for help.
“My mom called the Parkinson’s Foundation Helpline, where she found kind words, vital resources and much-needed reassurance that helped us prepare for this disease,” Daniel said. The Helpline also provided educational books from the PD Library. “The books helped us better understand how to best care for him. All of this gave us much-needed reassurance and helped us prepare for this disease.”
“In a way, this time in our lives was a gift. Our family came together every chance we could. I called Dad every day on my drive home from practices with the Kansas City Chiefs, and he always wanted to hear how my game went. We traveled to New York, where he was thrilled to see the Yankees play. We spent as much time as possible with him, and he enjoyed having his children and grandchildren together.”
The Sorensens battled Parkinson’s as a family. “We watched my dad struggle as his abilities declined and his big voice became softer. He did his best to stay active, though fell multiple times a day and struggled to hold his grandchildren, but thankfully Dad never lost his memory or his sense of humor.” Even when hospitalized with pneumonia, Daniel remembers his father laughing at knock-knock jokes made by the family in the hospital room.
Kory’s symptoms progressed and a few years after his diagnosis, the “heart and soul of the family” passed away.
Today, the mission of the Parkinson’s Foundation remains personal to Daniel. “Those living with Parkinson’s and the loved ones caring for them need all the help we can get in navigating daily life with this disease. My family and I are committed to the Parkinson’s Foundation and ultimately finding a cure. We are fortunate enough to make a $100,000 donation and hope this will inspire our greater community to support their work.”
“I hope this gift inspires others to give to the Parkinson’s Foundation,” Daniel said. “It means so much to honor my father’s legacy, and I’m proud to have a role in raising awareness and funds for this disease. After all, Parkinson’s doesn’t stop. And as a supporter of the Parkinson’s Foundation, neither will I.”