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Walker Feature: Rob Ecclestone

After fourteen years of living with Parkinson’s, Robert Ecclestone remains a jovial and positive spirit and does not let Parkinson’s keep him down.

After receiving his diagnosis, Robert was in shock and had a difficult time coming to grips with how this disease would change his life. Robert has received deep brain stimulation which has provided him with both benefits but also explains drawbacks. Robert’s journey with Parkinson’s has come with struggles, such as losing his long-standing job at the local sports complex but has provided him with many opportunities to learn and become involved with his community through Parkinson Society Southwestern Ontario. Despite the struggles he has experienced, Robert does not waste time feeling bad for himself but rather uses these circumstances to make a positive impact on others.

Robert is a volunteer with a friendly spirit. He has volunteered his time working on the Walk for many years. Robert admits that he was initially fearful and skeptical of joining a support group but after giving the support group a try, Robert finds the it really enjoyable and stresses that others with PD should as well. It allows those living with Parkinson’s to have their voices heard and realize they are not alone.

Robert echoes the voices of many individuals with Parkinson’s and wishes more people would understand how complex Parkinson’s disease really is and that is much more than just shaking. He also wants others to understand how the disease affects everyone differently. Although each person’s experience with Parkinson’s is unique and can make it hard to predict, Robert also remarks that this uniqueness among people is what makes life exciting.

Robert’s advice for people who have been recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease is to find ways to stay active and keep moving. He suggests one way people can do this is by volunteering or partaking in events coordinated by Parkinson Society Southwestern Ontario. He stresses that not only is the research funding from these events important, but that raising awareness for Parkinson’s disease is also critical. Robert always has fun at the walk and says it is a great demonstration of unity that can make a real difference in people’s lives within the community.

Robert feels lucky to be part of the Parkinson’s community and to have met so many good people. Robert’s determination and kindness brings out the best in the people around him. The people in his life and the Parkinson’s community are just as lucky to have met someone like him.