MUSACATINE, Iowa — Before Davis Phinney was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2000, at age 40, he competed in bicycling events around the world, including Tour de France, the Coors Classic and the Olympics.
Four years after he was diagnosed, he founded the Davis Phinney Foundation to provide education and research about the disease that affects an estimated 1.5 million Americans and estimated 10 million people worldwide.
Phinney is still cycling, and his story is an inspiration to Muscatine residents John and Karen Schaub, and Pat and Wayne Corriell of Atalissa.
Wayne Corriell and John Schaub have both been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, and they and their wives founded the Parkinson’s Support Group in Muscatine last year.
Friday night, the Corriells and Schaubs were pleased to welcome the group, Friends of Phinney — which is made up up Kevin Cartin, Kathleen Donohue, Rick Baker, and Tom Casey — to Muscatine when they rolled into Muscatine on a coast-to-coast bicycling tour. The group’s goal is to promote education and awareness about Parkinson’s through Phinney’s Foundation.
The team left Oceanside, Ca., on July 20, and plan to reach New York City by Aug. 30.
The cyclists’ first stop in Muscatine was Harpers Cycling and Fitness in Muscatine where, said Casey, they received a warm welcome.
Cartin said Harper’s provided free tune-ups for the bikes, and he was impressed by their friendliness.
The group then cycled to the Missipi Brew in downtown Muscatine, where they met the Corriells and Schaubs, and other members of the local Parkinson’s Support Group.
Pat Corriell said hosting the cyclists in Muscatine is one more way to encourage people who deal with Parkinson’s to join their group.
“We started out with 10 members and now there are 20,” said Pat. Attending these meetings has been very helpful for all of us, and we’d like to get the word out and invite more people to join us.”
John Schaub said the monthly meetings include speakers who provide useful information about Parkinson’s disease. Past programs included guests such as Bob Heimer of H.E.L.P. Legal Assistance in Davenport and physical therapist Susan Bode of Genesis Medical Center in Davenport.
“One of the good things that has come out of our group is the “Delaying the Disease,” program,” said John Schaub, referring to a local, specialized exercise program for people with Parkinson’s. Members who take part in that program meet at 10 a.m. Monday and Wednesday’s at Hillcrest Baptist Church, 1613 Bidwell Road.
Karen Schaub said her group has learned that Iowa has the second highest diagnosis of Parkinson’s in the U.S. Nebraska is first. She said the reasons for this have not yet been established.
The cross-country cyclists were tired after traveling 94 miles from Ottumwa to Muscatine Friday, but they took the opportunity to spread the word about Friends of Phinney and make new friends in Muscatine.
“We’ve traveled 2,150 miles, and we have 1,100 miles to go,” said Cartin. Read more here.