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Jill

Every Victory Counts® Parkinson’s Guide

Jill AterJill Ater

Jill was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2005 at the age of 42. She had young children at the time and was running a successful staffing company in the Denver metro area. She soon discovered she carries a mutated gene associated with Parkinson’s, LRRK2, shared with her mother and sister who are also living with Parkinson’s. “Like most, I would prefer to not have to deal with Parkinson’s,” Jill says, “but since that is not an option, the choice I do have is to live as fully as possible and make my ‘lemonade’ by helping others to keep going. It’s all about information, empowerment and an end to the isolation that often comes for those living with Parkinson’s disease.” 

Jill and her husband have moved 19 times over the past 25 years through six states and two foreign countries. Now retired and living in Tacoma, Washington, Jill assists with Parkinson’s support groups and events throughout the greater South Puget Sound area. “So many people living with Parkinson’s focus on what they can no longer do,” Jill explains. “I want to help people to focus on what they can do.” Her plan is to move overseas once her youngest graduates from high school in 2019 and travel as long as possible, explaining, “Parkinson’s gave me a gift: to live fully now, not wait for someday.”