Bicycling is a way to fight Parkinson's disease for an 81-year old patient

Published on October 9, 2009 at 7:03 AM · No Comments

Bob Wilson is not a quitter, and the Parkinson's Center of Oregon at Oregon Health & Science University will benefit from his steely determination October 10 when he and other members of "Team Bob" mount specially constructed bicycles for a fund-raising outing at The Springs at Tanasbourne.

The 81-year-old former engineering manager at Pacific Power & Light retired in 1990 and was diagnosed with Parkinson's two years later. Parkinson's disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that often impairs motor skills, speech and other functions.

After receiving his diagnosis, Bob refused to abandon his favorite hobby -- bicycling. In fact, his dedication became even more intense. For the next five years -- between 1992 and 1996 -- Bob participated in the grueling Cycle Oregon bike competition five times, clocking nearly 1,000 miles each year on his bike, including the 500 miles of training necessary for each event.

Progressively, however, Bob was unable to pursue his highly physical interests, including biking, downhill skiing, fly fishing and golf. When the day arrived for Bob to relinquish his cycling hobby, it was a difficult decision, but he trusted the future would hold more fun adventures of a different type. That's when he and wife, Helen, who have been married for 59 years, decided to move to The Springs at Tanasbourne, a 230-unit retirement community located in the Tanasbourne Town District section of Hillsboro.

Shortly after his arrival, one of Tanasbourne's staff members, Jody McManus, asked Bob if he could have any dream of his come true, what would it be? The answer came quickly and without hesitation: "I would like to get on my bike again."

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