Two core values we have at Hope For Ataxia are collaboration and inclusion.
With this in mind, we welcome Nathan Lee Ward!
Today we’ll learn more about Nathan and “Living with PD” – (Parkinson’s Disease) in our latest Speaker Session. PD is a movement disorder, outwardly similar to hereditary or acquired Ataxia. People with PD are advised to exercise to help deal with symptoms and slow progression.
In school, Nathan was active in baseball and other sports. After graduation, he became a 9-1-1 dispatcher He also worked in basement waterproofing and security at Walmart.
Nathan was fired from his job when his tremors got worse. As his movement deteriorated, Nathan has bounced around from one neurologist to another, getting several wrong diagnoses. Finally, Nathan developed a “funky step,” identified as gait ataxia, and was diagnosed with early-onset PD.
Nathan acknowledges that he was not prepared to mentally face his diagnosis, complicating things. He was only 26! Knowing that things would not get better, since PD gets worse over time, he got very depressed and was on a downward slope. Symptoms became more severe, and he constantly expected the worst.
Eventually, he got angry with his situation with PD. It came to a head when Nathan started and coached his son’s baseball team but was forced out and his son was expelled. He was motivated to do something, especially because now his son was affected by Nathan’s disease too. He wanted to stop the “pity party.”
Looking back, Nathan sees a lot of serendipity in his life. Luckily and by chance, Nathan got involved with Karate, and it turned out to be his saving grace. He no longer needs to use a cane. Both he and his son earned their black belts, and Nathan even trains to become an instructor. In Karate, he learned to focus on the mind as well as the physicality, and that has helped Nathan live with PD.
Hear more about Nathan’s story and struggle with PD and his interview with Mark in the video below. He talks about his day-to-day motivation and inspiration and his desire to share his experiences to teach others as an entrepreneur. Even though different people have different stories with PD and movement disorders, Nathan encourages everyone to fight, seek out the good things, and make the choice to be positive.
You can reach him on Facebook (Nathan Lee Ward) or through his business, Rally Cap Fitness, rallycapfitness.com.