WPC2019 : John Ball – (Still) Living Well and Running Hard

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      Brett Warthen

      As I’ve mentioned previously, my favorite part of World Parkinson Congress is the people with Parkinson’s, particularly the ones you encounter in the Book Nook and Poster Hall.

      Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting John Hall, author of one of my favorite books about living with Parkinson’s, “Living Well, Running Hard: Lessons Learned from Living with Parkinson’s Disease” https://www.amazon.com/Living-Well-Running-Hard-Parkinsons/dp/1462014305

      John was diagnosed at the age of 39, back in 1983. It’s staggering to think that he has lived almost half his life with Parkinson’s.

      His book is particularly of interest to people to people with Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease (YOPD), a term that didn’t exist back in 1983.

      For his first 10 years with PD, John kept his nose to the grindstone…he had a family to support and a job he wanted to keep. He tried not to let Parkinson’s slow him down, and kept active.

      He had always been a recreational runner, but at the age of 51, he started thinking about long distance running and marathons. Since then he has run at least 25, and has led Team Parkinson in raising funds for PD research at the L.A. Marathon.

      John’s favorite saying is that “You can’t make a difference if you don’t show up.”

      It’s been several years since I read his book, but it was very inspirational to me in the earlier stage of my PD diagnosis, convincing me that exercise was a key ingredient to a long healthy life with PD, and to try to run a half marathon every year. (Why not the full? Capsulitis on the 2nd toe on my right foot holds me back, but that’s another story.)

      The book is still in my Kindle library, so I think I’ll be revisiting this book on the long flight back to the USA.

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