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Fox Trial Finder Ambassador Refuses to Take Her Diagnosis Lying Down

Fox Trial Finder Ambassador Refuses to Take Her Diagnosis Lying Down

Jodi and Chris Cianci with Michael J. Fox.

Jodi Cianci is a Fox Trial Finder Ambassador who is committed to spreading the word about the critical importance of participation in PD clinical trials. In a recent feature in the University of Delaware’s “UDaily,” Jodi speaks of her transformative experience playing an active role in research. Below is an excerpt from the article.

Cianci, who earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Delaware in 1988, learned she had Parkinson’s disease four years ago at the age of 49.

She admits that when the diagnosis was first confirmed, she was despondent. “I thought my life was over,” she says. “But now I understand that it’s not the worst thing that can happen.”

Exercise has helped Cianci emerge from the “dark hole” in which she initially found herself…

Before her diagnosis, Cianci was a self-professed quick exerciser. “I was in and out of the gym with no sweat,” she says. But her husband, Chris, is an avid cyclist, and he was determined to help Jodi find non-medical ways to deal with the effects of Parkinson’s.

So when the couple learned about research on biking and the brain by neuroscientist Jay Alberts at the Cleveland Clinic, they traveled there to learn more about how pedaling might diminish some of the symptoms of the disease. Alberts and his team had demonstrated a 35 percent reduction in Parkinson’s disease symptoms by the simple act of cycling at 80 to 90 rpms for 45 minutes three times a week.

The Ciancis were sold on the idea, and Jodi began doing her own version of the program by taking spinning classes three times a week.

According to her husband, the results thus far have been remarkable.

“After only six weeks of cycling, I noticed a return in her fine motor skills,” he says. “She was able to use her right hand again, and her once-small handwriting looked as legible as it did 20 years ago. We both feel like we have objective evidence that this approach is working for her.”

Jodi Cianci is determined not only to reap the benefits of exercise herself but also to get the word out to others. “I think you have to take a holistic approach to dealing with this disease,” she says. “I’m not in denial — I just refuse to give the diagnosis power over me.”

Sign up today for Fox Trial Finder today and join the movement – now 30,000 volunteers strong – to move the dial toward a cure by participating in research. 

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