Music and Parkinson's Disease

I gave up. I wouldn’t leave the house. I just sat in my chair and wouldn’t do a thing.”

Struggling to cope with the effects of Parkinson’s disease, CT Free decided to live the rest of his days confined to a chair in his living room. He had difficulty standing, could no longer drive and had given up hope. CT’s children turned to the internet for help and found the Hope Parkinson Program.

“My children made me to go to these exercise classes and took turns taking time off of work to drive me there.” For months, CT reluctantly attended the classes specifically designed to assist people with movement disorders. In time, he noticed he was starting to move with less stiffness. He then began walking without the support of a walker or even a cane. And before long, CT was driving again.

“My exercise instructor called me and asked if I wouldn’t mind picking up a new classmate,” CT explained. “Someone named AJ was not well enough to drive. I was happy to do it. We rode together every week and got to talking. I learned that AJ liked to sing.”

Although it had been years since CT picked up a guitar, he made an offer. “I got to thinking that maybe I could help AJ and I told him that I played the guitar,” said CT. “I asked him to get together after class one day. He started singing and I started playing.”

Despite their challenging movement disorders, both men kept practicing. Little by little they began to improve. CT’s fingers moved more fluidly and AJ’s mood had lifted. Both of them began to feel better. Word about the duo quickly spread within the Parkinson community and it wasn’t long before they played their first “gig” and received rave reviews.

“I just figure, as long as people like it, we’ll keep playing,” said CT. CT’s life has changed since those long days spent “just sitting” in his chair. He and AJ continue to perform, with appearances lined up at community events throughout Southwest Florida. He is planning a getaway on a luxury cruise and he’s moving the Parkinson community with his soulful tunes. “The program saved my life,” said CT.

To find musical opportunities for individuals with PD or movement disorders, call (800) 859-0314.