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Jon Surine: 'I Don't Want to Be Defined by Parkinson's, I Want to Help Define It'

Jon Surine: 'I Don't Want to Be Defined by Parkinson's, I Want to Help Define It'

In the Spring 2012 issue of "Accelerating the Cure," we hear directly from PPMI participant Jon Surine.

When I was first diagnosed with PD in 2010 after consulting my physician about a mild tremor, I wasn’t completely surprised. I wasn’t the first in his family to hear this news from my doctor — both my mother and father-in-law had PD — so I was already familiar with some of the realities of living with the disease.

Still, it was important to me to do everything that I could to stay educated on the latest in PD research, and thankfully, my wife Mary has been incredibly supportive in this respect. Once we knew I had PD, Mary remembered that Michael J. Fox also had the disease, so she went straight to the MJFF Web site to learn more. She was immediately impressed with how the team at the Foundation has constructed a site that is so easy to use and understand.

During one of Mary’s many visits to, she found out about the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI), the Foundation’s landmark biomarkers study. I learned that since I was newly diagnosed and not yet taking medication, I was a potential fit for PPMI. Since I enrolled in January 2011, Mary has accompanied me on all of my visits to the Northwestern University study site.

I’m grateful for the love and support of my family, which truly helped to lay the groundwork for my participation in PPMI — and it’s been such a positive experience. PPMI means a lot to me, because I want to do what I can to help in the fight against this disease. I can be a proactive part of the solution. I don’t want to be defined by PD, I want to help define it.

Jon Surine is now retired from a family-owned garden center in Texas Township, Michigan. When they’re not visiting with their five grandchildren in the greater Detroit area, he and his wife Mary can be found traveling the United States. They never go to the same place twice, he says.

Learn more about PPMI.

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