Parkinson’s Awareness Month: Quotes About Parkinson’s Disease

“I was taught to strive not because there were any guarantees of success but because the act of striving is in itself the only way to keep faith with life.” Madeleine Albright

“This is where it all begins. Everything starts here, today.” David Nicholls

Introduction: What is Parkinson’s Disease? Parkinson’s is a motor system disorder that results from the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells. Parkinson’s has 4 main symptoms: rigidity (stiffness of the limbs and trunk); bradykinesia (slowness of movement); postural instability (impaired balance and coordination); and tremor (trembling in hands, arms, legs, jaw, and face).  Other symptoms may include: depression; difficulty in swallowing and speaking; urinary problems or constipation; and sleep disruptions.  Parkinson’s usually affects people over the age of 60.  There are ~1 million people in the USA living with Parkinson’s.  The symptoms of Parkinson’s occur gradually over several years, which sometimes makes it difficult to diagnose. How do you describe the typical rate of progression? Parkinson’s is not like sticking your hand into a hornet’s nest and the resultant instantaneous stings; it’s more like being covered in beach sand at low tide while you patiently wait for the slowly approaching ocean’s high tide. How do you feel living with Parkinson’s?  Living with Parkinson’s is like trying to see with having only one of your contact lenses in your eyes or trying to walk wearing shoes with one broken heel; both are manageable but they each present obstacles to overcome.

35 Quotes about Parkinson’s and Wellness-Illness:  For 2016, I would like to begin Parkinson’s Awareness Month with a series of quotes about Parkinson’s and wellness-illness. After you read one, close your eyes and imagine what it’d be like from the standpoint of the author of the quote. Put yourself in their shoes.  The vast majority of quotes included here have an underpinning of hope, positivity and persistence in living with Parkinson’s; however, a few quotes will help you appreciate the wickedness of  this disorder.

  1. “There’s an idea I came across a few years ago that I love. My happiness grows in direct proportion [to] my acceptance and in inverse proportion to my expectations. That’s the key for me. If I can accept the truth of ‘This is what I’m facing — not what can I expect but what I am experiencing now’ — then I have all this freedom to do other things.” Michael J. Fox
  2. “The longer I had the disease and was moving around the planet, I realized people were just waiting for this ethereal cure to happen….And I fairly quickly realized that waiting was too passive. If you’re waiting, you’re just declining and not taking charge of your own well-being….We wanted to empower them not to wait for a cure that might or might not come, but to embrace their disease and live better.” Davis Phinney
  3. “Do not confuse my bad days as a sign of weakness. Those are actually the days I’m fighting my hardest.”Anonymous
  4. “We may each have our own individual Parkinson’s, but we all share one thing in common. Hope” Michael J. Fox
  5. “I’m going to be totally honest with you. Dealing with a diagnosis of Parkinson’s is not easy and there is no one, single technique that will ease the pain and no magic pill that will miraculously enable you to cope with it. However … I sincerely hope that you are able to come to terms with the diagnosis and perhaps even come to view it as a positive life-changing experience.” John Baxter
  6. “The Heart of a Warrior: Persistence in the face of adversity; courage to face the unknown; purposeful intent to live wholeheartedly; courageous exploration of one’s weaknesses and strengths within the context of personal integration and consistent evolution toward personal growth.” Barbara Seelig
  7. “How do we wrestle with this beast? Living with an incurable disease like Parkinson’s is very different from living with a terminal illness. This is a disease you’re going to live with for a very long time. You really have to make peace with it.” Connie Carpenter-Phinney
  8. “My way of dealing with Parkinson’s is to keep myself busy and ensure my mind is always occupied.” David Riley
  9. “The first thing I read after being diagnosed on the internet was Parkinson’s attacks the mind, body and the spirit. There is one thing that treats all three and that’s hope. That’s very true, you have to live with hope.” Gordon Adai
  10. With Parkinson’s, exercise is better than taking a bottle of pills. If you don’t do anything you’ll just stagnate.” Brian Lambert
  11. “Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” Arnold Schwarzenegger
  12. “With Parkinson’s you have two choices: You can let it control you, or you can control it. And I’ve chosen to control it.” US Senator Isakson
  13. “You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.” Thomas Merton
  14. “I often say now I don’t have any choice whether or not I have Parkinson’s, but surrounding that non-choice is a million other choices that I can make.”  Michael J. Fox
  15. “It’s probably my job to tell you life isn’t fair, but I figure you already know that. So instead, I’ll tell you that hope is precious, and you’re right not to give up.” C.J. Redwine
  16. “Instead of fighting with Parkinson’s and it’s debilitating symptoms, patients, and their families are better served to find new ways to live a full life.” Amy Donaldson
  17. “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.” Mary Anne Radmacher
  18. “When a friend or family member is diagnosed with Parkinson’s, there are many battles that need to be tackled. Most importantly, support, love and understanding are imperative for the sufferer, the carer and the families…. Do a lot of encouraging and try your hardest to continue on in a normal way.” Gabriella Rogers
  19. “Perhaps I am stronger than I think.” Thomas Merton“
  20. “For everything this disease has taken, something with greater value has been given–sometimes just a marker that points me in a new direction that I might not otherwise have traveled. So, sure, it may be one step forward and two steps back, but after a time with Parkinson’s, I’ve learned that what is important is making that one step count; always looking up.” Michael J. Fox
  21. “The strongest people are not those who show strength in front of us but those who win battles we know nothing about.” Anonymous
  22. “We aren’t victims, we are strong, amazing people who just happen to have a crummy disease, and we want a cure to that disease”  Kate Matheson
  23. “In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.  And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.” Albert Camus
  24.  “Chris[topher] Reeve wisely parsed the difference between optimism and hope. Unlike optimism, he said, ‘Hope is the product of knowledge and the projection of where the knowledge can take us.” Michael J. Fox
  25. “We will be more successful in all our endeavors if we can let go of the habit of running all the time, and take little pauses to relax and re-center ourselves. And we’ll also have a lot more joy in living.” Thich Nhat Hanh
  26.  “With the support of my family and friends, I will meet this challenge with the same determination and unwavering intensity that I have displayed in all of my endeavors in life.” Kirk Gibson
  27. “Life is to be lived even if we are not healthy.” David Blatt
  28. “What is the difference between Illness and Wellness? Illness begins with ‘I’; Wellness begins with ‘We.'” Bob Kuhn in his address at the WPC in Montreal.(shared by Lisa Cox)

    The final 7 quotes are from this blog, “Journey With Parkinson’s” (to access each individual blog post just click on my name following each quote):

  29. “We must believe we have all the ingredients available to overcome the challenges in our lives.  We must accept that obstacles may exist; but like any speed breaker, the road of life will (hopefully) smooth out just ahead. We must understand that our lives can remain full while we deal with adversity; remember the sun usually follows the summer’s afternoon thunderstorm.” Frank C. Church
  30. “The song of the journey ahead for us is about living authentically in the presence of Parkinson’s.” Frank C. Church
  31. “The moment you become positive knowing that the obstacles of Parkinson’s are ever present unless you mount a strong countermeasure; focus positively to not become distracted by this disorder.” Frank C. Church
  32. “Each day we wear a cape on our back labeled with the letters PD (Parkinson’s Disease).  Each day we bring a positive reaction to handle our symptoms, I am convinced we begin to fade those letters; we begin to gain control of our symptoms.” Frank C. Church
  33. “Awake each morning: Each new day renews our life, our contract to keep living.  Strive to live-forward, and always remember that we’re still in the driver’s seat of our world. Live decisively even as we accept the problems from Parkinson’s.” Frank C. Church
  34. Strength is found in each of us.  For those of us with Parkinson’s, we use our personal strengths of character to bolster our hope, courage, mindfulness/contentment/gratitude, determination, and the will to survive. Stay strong. Stay hopeful. Stay educated. Stay determined. Stay persistent. Stay courageous. Stay positive. Stay wholehearted. Stay mindful. Stay happy. Stay you.”  Frank C. Church
  35. “Always remember, your life matters now with Parkinson’s as much as it did before Parkinson’s. Stay hopeful as you navigate adversity, stay you in spite of your Parkinson’s.” Frank C. Church

“speak quietly to yourself & promise there will be better days. whisper gently to yourself and provide assurance that you really are extending your best effort. console your bruised and tender spirit with reminders of many other successes. offer comfort in practical and tangible ways – as if you were encouraging your dearest friend. recognize that on certain days the greatest grace is that the day is over and you get to close your eyes. tomorrow comes more brightly…” Mary Anne Radmacher

Cover photo credit:



7 Replies to “Parkinson’s Awareness Month: Quotes About Parkinson’s Disease”

  1. Frank. Thanks for the quotes. They are strengthening me this a.m. Hope. Strength. Live. Life. Full. Perseverance. Faith. Communion. Adding another: “My Grace is sufficient for you. My Strength is made perfect in weakness ”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Frank, great quotes, thank you so much. Really encouraging. Im going to print out a few of them ( or even better copy them in hand writing) and use them as page finders in my books. Again, thank you.
    Best regards

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you so much Frank for these thoughtful and tender quotes, I think I will make little signs for my husbands office as reminders for him in his off moments.

    Liked by 1 person

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