JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Florida man is handling his diagnosis with Parkinson's disease one forward pedal at a time as he bikes across America.
Parkinson's disease, a neuro-degenerative brain disorder that causes trembling, slowness of movement, and impaired balance affects one million Americans.
Things were not always so cut and dry for Roy Roden. He was diagnosed in 2009 and said he seldom left his house after the diagnosis until last July. That was when he received deep brain stimulation surgery which offered him a new lease on life.
The 55-year-old just arrived in Jacksonville by bicycle after leaving Seattle in November. Roden is on a 45,000-mile-long bicycle ride across the country with his wife Lynn and their two dogs. He is now traveling to his hometown of Miami.
He decided to do this bike ride to raise funds and create awareness of Parkinson's disease, and talk to Parkinson's patients across the country.
"I have had so much support along the way, it's been kind of emotional for me. I have really been humbled because it has restored my faith in mankind," he said. "The people that have come out to greet us, the people with Parkinson's that inspire me, that tell me I have inspired them. Ah, it's been great for both of us."
Roden said his message to Parkinson's patients is get out of the house, exercise, and don't let it be a death-sentence.
Roden and his wife, who both work in the fitness industry, plan to move to Tuscon, Arizona to work with a new gym being organized to help Parkinson's patients with therapy.
You can contribute to Parkinson's research on the Roden's website PDChallenge.com.