Hi, y’all. I’m Stan. It seems strange to be in front of St. Augustine students and not have a gait belt on! I’ve been volunteering with you guys for about five years, and I can’t tell you how much I’m honored to even be considered for this award. Because to me, I feel like I’m the lucky one who gets to participate on a recurring basis with the students at St. Augustine. Room 204 on the campus has become a part of my life. And while RingCentral has served it’s purpose well during the pandemic, aren’t we all glad to be back to in-person classes and events like these?
When I was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2012, the ability to contribute to others was the farthest thing from my mind. I was deeply depressed from the diagnosis, and it took me quite a long time to pull out of that. Fortunately, from the beginning, my wife Ann stuck with me and has been a committed partner in this journey. These days, we try to look at this as less of an ordeal and more of an adventure. Taking that attitude has enabled both of us to enjoy our lives and live in the positive. We spend a lot of time going to hear live music, going out with friends, participating in exercise classes, and enjoying different restaurants, and I love her a lot. You know, a person doesn’t get Parkinson’s disease. A family gets Parkinson’s disease. Having Ann by my side gave me the strength to go from depression to feeling like I’m so lucky. This may sound strange, but today, I’m actually grateful that I have this condition and have been blessed with the life that I get to live. And how does that happen? Because I have an awesome neurologist, she prescribes the right medications, and I get a lot of physical exercise. Several years ago, I started taking classes with a local nonprofit called Power For Parkinson’s; it’s mission is to provide free exercise classes for anyone with Parkinson’s disease. Later, I was appointed to their board and then eventually I was named Treasurer. Then I started taking Parkinson’s boxing classes at a gym called 413 Fitness. Currently, I take three boxing classes a week and I have a strength and conditioning coach that comes to my place twice a week. And a little over a year ago, Ann retired and joins me in all of those exercise efforts today. How does St. Augustine fit into that? Over time, we’ve recruited many St. Augustine students to participate in 413 classes and in Power For Parkinson’s. They assist us in all kinds of ways while learning to work with people with disabilities. In return, I recruit people with disabilities or injuries to participate in the classes at St. Augustine. When my wife saw how much I was enjoying my involvement with your program, I think she broke her tibia just so she could also participate. Over time, St. Augustine, 413 Fitness, and Power For Parkinson’s have formed partnerships that I hope will continue for a long, long time.
I volunteer with St. Augustine because it gives me purpose. These days, I do a lot of work with addicts and alcoholics, and I spend a lot of time one-on-one with people who struggle with Parkinson’s. But what I really look forward to is my half hour drive from north to south Austin to get to your campus, where I enjoy every minute of getting to spend time with you. You students are so knowledgeable, so prepared, and so cool to work with, and your faculty is simply the best. I’ve had the privilege of meeting and working with a lot of the faculty. It’s an awesome group that is smart, happy, has a great sense of humor, and really cares about the student.
About eight weeks ago, I had surgery on my hand because I had broken it in two places. The doctor referred me to an occupational therapy group, and it turned out that my therapist was an intern that’s actually in this graduating class. With her assistance and guidance, my hand is as good as new. Thank you so much, Shelby; you’re the best. Which leads me to this; what all of your studies have accomplished is to prepare you for a career that significantly contributes to people’s lives. You get to go into this career knowing that you’re helping people every day. And isn’t that what this life is all about? And if I were going to give you one charge as you go forth from here, it’s to be sure that when you are working with your patients, don’t just deal with their physical issues. Talk to them. Get to know them. And bring as much positive energy to your treatment as you can. If you can make your patient feel good about their time with you, you have made a positive contribution to their health and happiness.
Thank you so much for the award and for letting me speak. Wow. What a day.
We are delighted to share the good new news about a long-time friend of The Quiver, Stan Wedel. If ever there were someone worthy of a “Force for Good Award”, it is Stan.