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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Parkinson's patient plays pickleball daily

August 7, 2017

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) -- As many as one million Americans live with Parkinson’s Disease, according to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation. It’s a debilitating disease that impairs a person’s motor skills, making it hard for some to even walk.

But one Grand Junction man has found a way to fight the disease.
"I was born in 1927," said Roy Gamble, a Grand Junction resident with Parkinson’s. 
Playing pickleball at 90-years-old isn't the most impressive thing about Roy.
"I got Parkinson’s about 15 years ago," said Roy. 
It’s a disease that currently has no cure. 
"There’s always fatigue, it robs you of half your strength, dexterity in your hands, you can't do anything anymore,” said Roy. 
But Roy hasn’t let that slow him down. 
"I think because he’s such an active person he hasn't gone down as fast as some of the Parkinson’s patients do," said Mary Gamble, Roy’s wife. 
Pickleball has proven to be a saving grace for Roy. 
"Well, it keeps him on his feet, and because he’s gone through periods where he hasn't played for a while and we can see a great difference in him," said Mary.

Roy tries to get on the court every single day. It’s become a normal part of his daily routine.
"He can actually play with most people out here, and most of the time wins,” said Verne Smith, a friend who plays with Roy. 
Smith is one of Roy’s pickleball partners and a retired geriatrician.
"Roy is an awesome player," said Smith. 
Smith said Roy is the perfect example of someone fighting the disease.
“Physical activity, you've got to have good mental activity, and you got to be socially active," Smith said.
It proves that just because you have an incurable disease, it doesn’t take you out of the game. 
"He’s tough and he always has been tough,” said Mary. 
Mary and Roy said they didn’t know much about the disease when they first got the diagnosis. Now they go to a support group and seminars to continue learning about ways to slow down the symptoms.

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