“The worst day of this disease was the day I was diagnosed. The best day was when I understood that I could do something about it. It gave me back a sense of control in my life, and some power.”
–Phyllis, 63, five years after diagnosis
If you or someone close to you has recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD), you are likely experiencing many emotions and have many concerns and questions.
Remember that you are not alone. As many as one million people in the US and 4.1 million worldwide have Parkinson’s disease. These estimates do not account for cases of PD that are unreported, undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.
With a diagnosis now in hand and the freedom to learn at your own pace, you can begin to understand PD and its treatments and the role they will play in your life. Your diagnosis can be the first step to taking charge of your life with Parkinson’s disease.
Ian Riley, CEO and President of Oz Fitness, knows about overcoming obstacles. As a young man growing up on the “wrong side of the tracks” of Sydney, Australia, Ian’s parents instilled in him the meaning of personal strength, both mentally and physically. Dropping out of school at the age of 16, Ian quickly learned that he would have to rely solely on his knowledge and personality to carve out a living in this world. Having been brought up by parents who believed strongly in physical health, Ian surrounded himself with all things related to fitness and health, as well as business.
Ian opened his first club at the age of 20, and now 29 years later, Ian has made his mark on Spokane and the northwest region with the Oz Fitness brand. Clearly, determination and perseverance have played a key role in Ian’s success. Now more than ever, Ian has had to rely on these traits to deal with perhaps the biggest hurdle in his life. Nearly four years ago, Ian was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. For a man who has made physical and mental fitness his life’s work, it would be easy to assume that this diagnosis would be a devastating blow.
When asked about the diagnosis, Ian simply states “I was shocked, obviously, but that’s life. Just get over it and learn to deal with it.” Ian goes on to say that “too many people are embarrassed or feel ashamed about having PD. I don’t see that as an option.” Besides relying on his own strength to overcome and learn to live with Parkinson’s, Ian remarks on the importance of awareness and support. “Everyone probably knows someone that has PD and we all should make sure that they feel supported. There is a need for people to remain positive, stay productive and move their bodies.”
Though there is currently no cure for Parkinson’s Disease, Ian has found his method for maintaining his strength through the one thing that has brought him so far in his life already- physical fitness. “I believe that exercise is the key to sustainable health and movement.” Ian’s mantra? “WE ALL NEED TO WORKOUT!” **Ian Riley lives in Spokane, WA and currently serves as Vice-President of the Board of Directors for the Parkinson’s Resource Center of Spokane.