Welcome to the YOPD Club: 10 Inspirational Stories From 10 People Living With Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s Disease is the fastest growing neurological disorder in the world. Most people with the disease are diagnosed in their fifties or later, however, it is not just a disease of the elderly. Up to 10% of those with the condition develop the disease in their forties or younger at which point, it is termed “Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease” or YOPD. When I was diagnosed with YOPD at the age of 43, I didn’t know where to turn for information. I listened to podcasts from specialists, read books, attended support groups, joined Facebook pages, talked with my physician, but what I really wanted was to hear from people my age that were contending with the disease. So I determined that that the best way to learn was to talk to people and understand what its like to live with YOPD. This book is a collection of 10 interviews with individuals that have been living with the disease for as little as 1 to 23 years. Some are negotiating powerful careers, taking leadership roles in their professional organizations, competing in endurance events, starting foundations, volunteering in their communities, playing team sports, writing books, raising money for research and raising kids. However what characterizes them most is what they are not doing, which is sitting around waiting for the disease to consume them. Written primarily for the newly diagnosed, this book is also for the care givers, family members, friends and associates who, like me, are approaching this disease for the first time or have questions about what to expect. As you read this book my hope is that you’ll develop a better understanding of what disease progression looks like and how you can support the person with Parkinson’s in your life. Welcome to the YOPD Club!

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