Doug was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s at the young age of 39. A trip to Prague with his wife Heather started the whole process. Doug was forever tripping on the cobblestone streets; and while at first it was chalked up to clumsiness, in the end Doug and Heather knew something wasn’t quite right.
“I knew something was wrong when it took two minutes for him to butter toast,” said Heather.
Two years after their trip Doug was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s disease, a progressive brain disease that attacks the central nervous system. There is no way to slow the progression of the disease – medication only treats the symptoms which progress over time. What started with a slow stiffening of his legs progressed to Doug being bed-ridden and unable to communicate.
“We could have lost Doug for sure,” said Heather. “There’s a number of symptoms that can advance and cause death.”Doug was fortunate to able to participate in a clinical trial at the University of Alberta that would provide a new and better way for his body to absorb his medication. The results of the first treatment were astounding and within 24 hours Doug was up and talking for the first time in a long time.“It was like I had just woken up,” said Doug. “I was able to walk and interact again.”
Although the medication isn’t a cure, the new, more effective therapy has given Doug his life back and offers hope to people living with advanced Parkinson’s.
“I would give anything to get Parkinson’s out of my system,” said Doug. “ The hope is always there, it’s not going to go away.”