My PD Story

Photo of Rod Marino speaking into a microphone
People with PD

Rod Marino

Many people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) try speech therapy to combat the changes in voice and speech that are often the earliest signs of Parkinson’s. But Rod Marino went a step further and purchased a karaoke machine so he could start singing on his own, in his basement.

Rod has lived with Parkinson’s for 24 years and has learned to battle the disease with a positive attitude, great sense of humor and a song. He keeps his body strong by staying active and riding a stationary bike every day. He keeps his mind sharp by being active in the community as a board member for the local senior center. He keeps his soul sharp through music. 

Rod found out about the Parkinson's Foundation from one of his doctors when he was first diagnosed, who recommended visiting for helpful information. Early on, Rod read that voice dysfunction and speech issues are the earliest sign of motor impairment in Parkinson’s — specifically that the voice softens as the disease progresses. 

To combat the issue, he decided to take voice lessons and now sings every day! After setting up his karaoke machine and using it consistently, his voice therapy turned into passion, and he started singing in public. 

Rod finds happiness in making other people happy. He does just that spending time at the local senior center, visiting with members and hosting events, like weekly bingo. He also oversees a singing group that his wife, Diane, conducts. 

In time, he formed a band called the Don-Rod Duo with a friend.  The band performs at the Sheila Ray Center in Elk Grove Village (IL), farmers markets and other locations in the community.  

Diane introduces the duo by telling the story of how music and song have helped Rod maintain his voice. The duo takes the stage and sings a wide range of cover songs that range from Dean Martin and Neil Diamond to Frank Sinatra, adding jokes to entertain the audience. 

Today he shares his music and tells his story to the audience members. Stories about his Parkinson’s sometimes come into the light, helping spread awareness about the disease.   

Rod's biggest piece of advice is to be open about having Parkinson's and allow family members and friends to help whenever possible. People should not be alone on the journey, as he has found that loved ones are eager to help in any way that they can.

Rod's motto is "Don't give up and stay involved." He is a true inspiration to so many members of the community. He wishes to share his story, so that others may learn how music has helped him on his Parkinson’s journey.

Explore local Parkinson’s classes, wellness programs, in-person events and more when you connect with your Parkinson’s Foundation Chapter. Find your chapter now.

Back to Top