Karen was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at age 47, a similar time to when her father, who lived with Parkinson’s for 22 years, was diagnosed. Karen’s father is her hero; handling his condition with grace and a desire to help others through his advocacy work, he was wise, kind, gentle, strong, and giving. Karen’s father championed for all things that could improve patients’ lives and taught her to live compassionately and make a difference for others.
When Karen first received her diagnosis, she was devastated. She couldn’t imagine a life with Parkinson’s at such a young age and felt discouraged. Ashamed that she was so down, Karen worked hard to overcome significant depression and anxiety surrounding her diagnosis. Wanting to honor her father’s memory by emulating his attitude and grit, Karen dove headfirst into creating a new and engaging future for herself.
Ending her 20-year career as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, Karen started a support group in her community for Young Onset Parkinson’s. She also began Rock Steady Boxing classes, yoga, Pilates, indoor cycling, neuroplasticity classes, cognitive behavioral therapy, meditation, and attending conferences about Parkinson’s. There, Karen found herself surrounded by thousands of people from all over the world living well with Parkinson’s, helping her to turn the feeling of devastation into motivation and gratitude.
Living well for Karen means exploring who she is and connecting with herself and her community in an effort to inspire those around her, just like her father did.
“I believe that grace, gratitude, and grit are choices I must choose daily as I navigate life and its many challenges. I hope to help others do the same!”
Ask Karen about:
- Young Onset Parkinson’s
- Perioperative and Hospital Care with Parkinson’s
- Anxiety and Depression
- St. Louis, Missouri