OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy first signs that something was wrong was I was losing my balance when walking and then when I was stepping down. When I was hiking on a trail I took a serious fall. I noticed when I was biking I was losing my endurance. I wasn’t as strong as I used to be when I got off my bike. I had no balance. I let the bike fall a couple of times after I had gotten off it. I was gradually losing balance on stepping down stairs, off curbing and then I needed assistance. Then last July I decided there was really something seriously wrong because I could no longer hike and my legs would just be so weak I would just collapse.

I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s late August (2013) and I got involved with this program here at the “Y.” It took a lot of physical therapy from the university hospital and this exercise program. Then I gradually started noticing improvements, big improvements. My walking was much better. I was able to take longer strides. I wasn’t off balance. I could step down off of curbing. I could come down the stairs better. I saw big improvements in endurance so the program has been wonderful for me. In walking I have a much longer stride; it is more normal.

My gross motor skills have greatly improved. So have my fine motor skills; it was basically to a point that you couldn’t read my writing it was so small. I was not doing well playing the piano which I have been doing for years and my speech was hesitant. I was searching for words and not able to pronounce them. My computer and typing skills were not good. So, I asked my friends what improvements they have seen and they have noticed great improvement in both my fine motor skills and my gross motor skills. And, I owe it all to the program here, under Gary and all the team that works with him. My name is Benda Hutchinson. I was diagnosed at age 72, about six months ago. I was misdiagnosed, however, for a year.