Stories of Hope: Parkinson's Disease

For Bruce Wisnicki and other Parkinson’s patients, the benefit of most Parkinson’s medications might be summed up with the bromide: “This too shall pass.”

Because of the degenerative nature of the disease that depletes the dopamine producing brain cells, medications to control symptoms eventually lose their punch.

“I’m one of the lucky ones,” Wisnicki says. “I have the resources to have the finest care available.” And, he adds, he’s been able to participate in many clinical trials for drugs that help control his disease.

“Here’s the catch. I have been on these drugs for many years. Over time they become much less effective.” Even when he’s
doing well, Wisnicki, a Los Angeles resident, deals with the exaggerated, jerky movements that accompany the disease and its treatment.

“I spend half my day functioning and half my day trying to function,” he said. He was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease more than 10 years ago, when his two children were still toddlers.

“Parkinson’s is one of those diseases that teach us how much we really don’t know,” he said. “I hope you can find a cure so millions more people do not have to wait.”