Bill Price and his father, Bill, Sr., shared a connection more unusual than most: their Parkinson’s disease. In fact, they were diagnosed within a year of each other.
Bill, Sr., was diagnosed eight years ago, at age 67. Like many family members, Bill did research to learn more about the disease, including exploring the MJFF Web site and reading Michael J. Fox’s memoir, Lucky Man. It was then he started picking up on potential PD symptoms of his own, such as his index finger twitching. A real estate developer based in Naples, Florida, Bill initially wrote this off. But by the time he saw a neurologist several months later, his symptoms had progressed. He was diagnosed with young-onset PD at age 49.
Father and son’s PD progressed at different rates, Bill Sr.’s faster. But Bill’s symptoms grew increasingly debilitating. The tremor on his left side worsened, and his gait and flexibility were affected. He began to explore his treatment options. Last winter, he underwent Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery. It’s given him “a second chance,” he says.
“It makes so clear the effect symptoms were having on my life, and the challenges all patients face. I’m truly grateful, and I want to do what I can to help while I can.”
When he lost his father to Parkinson’s-related complications last May, Bill could think of no better way to honor his father’s memory, and his own future, than by making a gift to The Michael J. Fox Foundation. Knowing he could double his impact through the Brin Wojcicki Challenge, he was especially motivated to give as much as he could. This year, inspired by his father and the Challenge, he gave $25,000, a tenfold increase over his previous gifts to the Foundation.
“When you’re diagnosed at a younger age,” he says, “you have your whole life in front of you. You want to know that smart people are figuring out how to best allocate research dollars to get results. I like the Foundation’s entrepreneurial approach, as that’s my style.”
Bill has also asked others to take advantage of the Brin Wojcicki Challenge. While he was preparing for DBS, he was very public about it, sharing frequent updates on his Facebook page. If the surgery was successful, and it was, he asked his friends to show their support by making a contribution to MJFF.
“That’s what’s so great about the Challenge,” he says. “Everyone can play a role.”