Chair: Jim Horwich, CA
Robert J. Gardino, MBA
Jim Horwich (US)
Robert Gardino (US) The year 2006 will always be for me a bitter reminder of life’s ups and downs. Not only was that the year I was diagnosed in October at age 49 with Parkinson’s, but also the year my mother passed away after a short painful bout with uterine cancer. To boot, the year basically ended with my being hit by a taxicab as I was crossing the street, as a pedestrian, near where I live. As I laid on a gurney in the emergency room of a nearby hospital I remember thinking… "What next?”. Thankfully after the encounter with the cab I was spared further tragic relief for a while anyway. I went through the feeling sorry for myself and oh why is this happening to me phase. But you either decide to spend most of your time wallowing in self-pity or you pick yourself up and decide to get on with your life the best way that you can. I chose the latter. I counted my many blessings and tried to apply myself more diligently to my job, which is working in credit operations at a major US bank.
A lifelong New Yorker I have resided in the same building all my life in the section known as Hell’s Kitchen. A product of the parochial school system of New York City I graduated from Fordham University with a degree in Accounting and later attained my MBA from NYU.
Anyone with Parkinson’s will tell you that it is certainly no fun. Gradually losing the ability to write, tie one’s shoelaces, even losing the simple pleasure of enjoying the smell of freshly brewed coffee are, to put it mildly, frustrating. My attitude is to accept the hand I’ve been dealt and apply positive steps along the way to cope with it. I continue my involvement with my local charity Encore Community Services, part of St. Malachy’s parish, which provides services to the elderly. Now comes my involvement with the World Parkinson Congress via the Parkinson Advocates Committee of which I’m very excited to be a part of. By the time it’s over, I hope my contributions will have lent a hand in helping people with PD realize they are not alone. There are people, organizations, and methods to alleviate the stress of living with Parkinson’s. I want to remind people with PD to maintain a positive outlook for the future as research and clinical trials continue to look for a cure.