It has been eight years since we first shared the story of Clare Poechman (The Parkinson’s Update, Issue 55) and he doesn’t seem to be showing many signs of slowing down. Clare was diagnosed with Parkinson’s 13 years ago at the age of 59.

When he was first diagnosed, he kept quite busy with golf, his home renovation business, coaching a ball team, helping to start a new Parkinson’s support group in the area and getting involved in fundraising to help those living with the challenges of Parkinson’s. He was also dealing with anxiety and depression.

Now, Clare no longer golfs; he simply lost interest. He is still involved with home renovations for his family members; he just doesn’t go on ladders. He is amazed and thankful he is doing so well and says he can do almost anything, if he just takes his time. The support group is going strong and Clare attends because the interactions with others in the group are still very helpful.

Clare has been participating in the South Grey Bruce and Hanover Walk for Parkinson’s since 2009. He “pounds the pavement” and secures personal as well as corporate donations in the community. To date, he has raised more than $170,000!

As for Clare’s anxiety and depression, he feels it is under control with a combination of regular exercise, natural products and timely medication. His regular exercise routine consists of chair yoga once a week, the VON SMART exercise program twice a week and daily walks. Since COVID-19, Clare exercises online and continues with his walks.

When asked what advice he would give someone newly diagnosed, Clare says, “Accept it. Don’t fight it. No matter how bad things get, there are always people worse off than you. If you can, join a local support group. It is a major help to hear others’ issues and how they solved them. It is good to connect with people dealing with some of the same challenges.”

Clare is a great example of “I have Parkinson’s, but it doesn’t have me.”