CHAMPs > Parkinson's CHAMP

June 2013 - Bold Moves

The youngest of my four children, Tim, a graffiti artist for rock bands, passed away suddenly on April 29, 2002. By the end of 2002, I was limping painfully, unable to move my left ankle. I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD) in 2004.

After seeing several neurologists, one of whom said I could not possibly have PD because I had no tremor, I consulted with Dr. Alessandro DiRocco, now with NYU Langone Medical Center.  I found him to be a good listener and open-minded.

I first participated in the Parkinson’s Unity Walk with my boyfriend and daughter the following year, and several of my co-workers contributed. Around the time I retired at age 67, Dr. DiRocco and Amy Lemen started the exercise program at the Edmond J. Safra Parkinson’s Wellness Program. This program is collaboration between NYU Langone Medical Center’s Parkinson and Movement Disorders Center and the Jewish Community Center (JCC) in Manhattan. The classes are held at the JCC. What a wonderful program! Exercise, workshops, and weekend seminars—we all gained so much.

Then my boyfriend passed away and I had one minor injury after another—torn meniscus, torn rotator cuff, etc. I was not so motivated to walk – anywhere!

In 2012, Amy asked Jody McVeigh to be the walking coach for the JCC’s Unity Walk team. Even though I was convinced I was homebound, I was made the promoter for the walking class. I found that with encouragement I could walk blocks and even miles. When we discussed what to name the team, I suggested ‘Bold Moves’ in memory of my son whose graffiti ‘tag’ was BOLD. The date of the Unity Walk is so close to the anniversary of his passing. The Parkinson’s Unity Walk turned what would have been a heavy time of a year into one of hope. Team Bold Moves had a great turn out in our lavender and orange shirts.

In 2013, my elevator was broken and carrying the walker up and down the stairs was killing my knees.  Again I was convinced I could not walk but Coach Jody whipped us into shape and our team doubled. Not only did we walk, we performed – Nia Dance the night before at the JCC’s Shabbat Shebang and again, after the Walk on the Bandshell stage - Tai Chi and Nia Dance!  

I am sure that I speak for the whole team when I say how greatly we appreciate the families, professionals, interns, and volunteers, plus our donors. Thanks to the support we received, we boldly moved when we were convinced we could not.  

Pat Vega
Team Member, Bold Moves