CHAMPs > Parkinson's CHAMP
Rochelle "Shelley" Pomerantz was in the prime of her life when she was diagnosed with Early Onset Parkinson's Disease at age 47. The phrase "no grass grows under her feet" best described Shelley at the time of her diagnosis. She was working a full-time job managing a large law firm and operating high profile political campaigns. She was an exercise fanatic and made sure to get in a daily run or aerobic session. Her weekends were spent shopping as only Shelley knew how to do! If the weather was nice, you could find her soaking up the rays on the deck or at the beach. Her family was the apple of her eye. She was proud of the children she raised and knew they would do great things with their lives.
After months of testing and doctors shrugging their shoulders at Shelley's symptoms, the "You have Parkinson's Disease" bomb was dropped. Her children were dumbfounded. "What the heck is Parkinson's disease and what does this mean for you?" Shelley, on the other hand, knew exactly what Parkinson's disease was, as her father had been diagnosed with Parkinsonism at an early age.
Shelley continued on as the best mom ever - a hard worker, a shopaholic, sun-loving, exercise fanatic until her body began to betray her. Slowly but surely, she decreased her work hours, she could no longer drive, she could no longer walk up and down steps, and her sharp as a tack mind began to fade. Accepting this loss of independence was not an option for this strong and determined woman. Shelley underwent Deep Brain Stimulation surgery when it was a relatively new procedure. While her tremors initially decreased, the other devastating effects of Parkinson's disease wreaked havoc on her body.
Despite the disease progressing at an alarming rate, Shelley took great pride when each of her four grandchildren were born. It broke her heart that she could not hold them and play with them like she always imagined she would, but her grandchildren knew they were loved by her.
Shelley was courageous in her battle against Parkinson's. But, this monster is unforgiving and on the morning of January 10, 2015, Parkinson's won. Shelley was no longer in pain and in a better place, running, shopping, sunbathing, smiling and laughing.
Team Shelley was originally started to support her in her battle. Now, Team Shelley continues on in her honor. We continue our fundraising efforts in the hopes that a cure will be discovered and that others suffering from Parkinson's disease won’t have to stop living while they fight - that they can continue doing what they love most!
The Parkinson's Unity Walk makes us feel like we are part of something big. We feel part of a community of others who can understand our hatred for this disease, our grief for our loss and the passion we have to find a cure.
Amy Harris and Randy Pomerantz
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