Why We Are Supporting the Morton & Gloria Shulman Movement Disorders Centre: Patient Testimonial

I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2001.  As the disease progressed, I found myself going from one neurologist to the next.  I was totally dissatisfied with my treatment.  My symptoms eventually progressed to the point where I could no longer walk when my medication had worn off.  Desperate, I even tried naturopathic treatments; the practitioners claimed they could cure the condition.  Finally, someone at another hospital recommended that I contact the Morton & Gloria Shulman Movement Disorders Centre at Toronto Western Hospital.

Upon arriving at the Centre for the first time, I was greeted by a caring and professional staff.  I have been very satisfied with my treatment.  At one point, it was suggested to me that I might be a candidate for deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery. This is an operation where wires are placed into the brain and are connected to a battery pack or neurostimulator in the chest area.  I went for it.  The surgery took nearly seven hours – I was awake the whole time!  My surgery was a little different; I have two battery packs, one on each side of my chest.

DBS has changed my life.  My arms and legs function as before.  I can walk all day; I can even run again.  I can travel on public transit without falling.  It has been almost three years since I had DBS surgery.  I continue to go to the Centre twice a year.  I am very thankful to the all the staff at the Centre for their continuing care and support.

Sam Nassar
Morton & Gloria Shulman Movement Disorders Centre

*Don’t miss a special evening with rock legend Tom Cochrane in support of the Morton & Gloria Shulman Movement Disorders Centre at the Toronto Western Hospital. Set in the fabulous Capital Event Theatre, the event will include an open bar, great food, a silent auction and amazing entertainment. 


An Unusual Twist of Fate

Lloyd and Heather MacLeod have been married for almost 57 years. In an unusual twist of fate, both of them have Parkinson’s disease.

Lloyd recently helped organize a golf tournament where they raised over $150,000 for Parkinson’s research.

Lloyd and Heather are pleased to support the Shake It Up for Parkinson’s fundraiser that is taking place at the Capitol Event Theater on September 6, 2013.

To help people better understand Parkinson’s, Lloyd and Heather agreed to answer a few questions.

1. What were your first Parkinson’s symptoms?

Heather – Trembling in one finger and then in the left hand.

Lloyd – Trembling in my right hand. In that Heather already had the sickness, I diagnosed myself before I went to my doctor.

2. When were you first diagnosed with Parkinson’s?

Heather – In the fall of 1998.

Lloyd – Twelve years ago when I was 74 years old.

3. How has Parkinson’s affected your day-to-day activities?

Heather – I have had to cancel many of my social activities. [Note: As Parkinson’s progresses, voice level can reduce significantly making it difficult for others to hear the person. Heather’s voice is very weak.]

Lloyd – Not greatly as yet but I am gradually getting stiffer and I get tired more quickly than I did prior to getting the sickness.

4. Is there anything you can do to slow the progression of the disease?

Heather – Regular exercise is probably the most important as well as working with a speech specialist to help with keeping your voice strong.

Lloyd – I think it is important to keep exercising. I also think you should be on a diet.

5. In your opinion, what is the main misconception about Parkinson’s?

Heather – The sickness is not well understood by the general public in spite of the fact several celebrities have had the sickness. Most people think of people with PD as being shaky and not able to do much.

Lloyd – PD is not well understood by the general public or the medical profession except doctors who specialize in the sickness. When I told my MD I thought I had PD he said, well, its not affecting your life style, so you should just forget about it until such time that it becomes a problem and then we can do something about it. Of course, this is not what should happen and you should have treatment immediately.

*Don’t miss a special evening with rock legend Tom Cochrane in support of the Morton & Gloria Shulman Movement Disorders Centre at the Toronto Western Hospital. Set in the fabulous Capital Event Theatre, the event will include an open bar, great food, a silent auction and amazing entertainment. 

Tom Cochrane Live and In Person!

Love to rock out on air guitar to Canada’s most classic tune? Heck, what self-respecting Canuck doesn’t?

The once-in-a-lifetime chance to let loose with the man behind the iconic rock anthem “Life is a Highway” is coming to Toronto next month, at a fundraiser to benefit the Morton & Gloria Shulman Movement Disorders Centre. The exclusive event is headlined by Tom Cochrane, who will perform as part of the Shake It Up For Parkinson’s fundraiser. Proceeds for the event go to benefit research into the neurodegenetive disease.

Cochrane will be one of hundreds present at the fundraiser to help build better lives and brighter futures for Canadians living with Parkinson’s. To prepare guests for what guarantees to be an unforgettable night, we share ten facts about Cochrane to leave you inspired for more.

  1. Tom’s 1991 album Mad Mad World topped six million sales worldwide.
  2. Tom’s father had Parkinson’s disease and Tom is dedicated to research to explore treatments and cures. Proceeds from his 2002 single Just Like Ali fund Parkinson’s research.
  3. Tom holds the highest honour for a Canadian citizen, the Order of Canada.
  4. Tom purchased his first guitar at age 11, funding his purchase by selling a toy train set.
  5. Tom holds his very own key to the City of Winnipeg.
  6. Tom has been inducted onto Canada’s Walk of Fame with some great company. The same year, Sex and the City actress Kim Cattrell and children’s author Robert Munsch were also inducted.
  7. Tom has received seven Juno’s over the course of his career.
  8. Well known for his story-telling skills, Tom is nicknamed the “Thinking Man’s Rocker”.
  9. Tom was awarded the Allan Waters Humanitarian Award in recognition of his      extensive charitable efforts.
  10. Tom has a pilot’s licence and enjoys flying his very own float plane.

To learn more about the living legend, come to the Capitol Theatre for the Shake It Up for Parkinson’s event. We hope to see you there. Make sure to bring your finest air guitar skills!

Thanks for reading,

Genevieve Giroday


*Don’t miss a special evening with rock legend Tom Cochrane in support of the Morton & Gloria Shulman Movement Disorders Centre at the Toronto Western Hospital. Set in the fabulous Capital Event Theatre, the event will include an open bar, great food, a silent auction and amazing entertainment. 

Parkinson’s and Discrimination

Tremors or shaking that cannot be controlled is a major symptom of Parkinson’s disease. Modifications to language, speed and facial expressions are also common. With the decrease of mobility and independence, depression is a side effect often observed in those suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

The struggle is hard not only for the individual with Parkinson’s but for their family and friends as well. Over and above the disease itself, its side effects and its impact on lifestyle and family and friends, Parkinson’s sufferers often have to deal with discrimination as well.

Shaking, slurring speech and slowness are symptoms that often cause Parkinson’s disease sufferers to be mistaken for intoxicated individuals. Examples of this kind of discrimination include when a Parkinson’s sufferer is yelled at in public, is refused service and even is arrested for being drunk and disorderly.

Simple activities that most of us take for granted, such as buying groceries at the supermarket or attending a restaurant for dinner with friends, are often more difficult for Parkinson’s sufferers with decreased mobility and physical impairments. However, participating in such outdoor and social activities often bring joy and happiness and ease loneliness. Parkinson’s sufferers should be encouraged and assisted in enjoying the same freedoms as healthy individuals.

Feeling isolated, uncomfortable and/or nervous in public is not conducive to alleviating the everyday stress and struggles of Parkinson’s sufferers. Public drunkenness is not only illegal in Canada, it can also be very embarrassing- not a quality anyone wants falsely assume.   

People should look and investigate carefully before pointing fingers. Making Parkinson’s sufferers more self-conscious is not helpful when it comes to promoting a positive attitude. If the public were more educated and aware of how serious the disease is, what exactly the symptoms are and how prevalent they are, it may do a lot to reduce these kinds of hurtful mistakes.