Nobody should have to navigate Parkinson’s disease alone. Blake Bell shares his journey with Parkinson’s, from diagnosis to how he thrives today.
Receiving a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease is tough. I remember when I went to my doctor and he told me, “You need to see a neurologist.” So, I got an appointment— and he told me I had Parkinson’s disease.
They were words that I wasn’t prepared to hear. At the time I was a 50-year-old business owner of a thriving construction company.
I thought, “It happens to other people. It can’t happen to me.” And that’s how I spent the first few years: in denial. I was having a hard time adjusting to my symptoms and I withdrew from many normal activities, isolating myself and feeling alone.
After a few years I reached out for support through Parkinson Canada. Sharing and speaking with people that were going through the same experiences that I was helped me come to terms with my new life.
And for the first time since I heard the words “You have Parkinson’s,” I was ready to accept my diagnosis.
I wanted to support Parkinson’s research, raise awareness about the disease, and ask for help in the search for a cure, so I signed up for the Parkinson Canada SuperWalk. While it started with a simple Facebook post to share my fundraiser, the response was amazing. I got overwhelming support from friends and family. The support I got was part of what started to make me feel comfortable in public again. It motivated me to find ways to help manage my Parkinson’s. I started living a more active lifestyle and I now feel much more in control. Through the SuperWalk and their programs, Parkinson Canada has been a partner in my journey.
I’m walking again this year, and while the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic mean that I’ll be doing so in my small bubble, the connections I feel with others walking across Canada help me remember that I am not alone — and neither are you.