Name: Joseph Chung
Joseph Chung and Todd Borgie, 2004
The award for most enthusiastic person with Parkinson’s goes do Joseph Chung of Singapore! I asked what would he say if he had the world’s stage for two minutes, and he didn’t pause for a moment before spitting out his answer.
“Life is beautiful,” Joseph said. “You will not die from Parkinson’s Disease. Although it affects movement, you can still move on.” I have never heard such and enthusiastic bursts like this before!
Joseph felt the first signs of Parkinson’s 10 years ago, and he lived with his symptoms for four years before finally being officially diagnosed. He had his third child four years ago and has done many other extraordinary things since his diagnosis. He inspired us all after proudly stating he ran a marathon in four-and-a-half hours not too long ago and has gone white-water rafting and bungy jumping since his diagnosis. Although these are not always recommended activities for people with Parkinson’s, Joseph certainly hasn’t let his diagnosis stop him.
He firmly believes that his Parkinson’s diagnosis enabled him to have his third child. Whether it was the departure from the fast lane or a side affect from Parkinson’s Disease or its medication, Joseph has a new best friend. I asked him about his strength and balance, and whether that affected his confidence in care giving. He said, “Sometimes I fall down, and we both laugh.” Laughter is great medicine, indeed. Perhaps it takes the perspective and the acceptance of a small child for people to remember that we are loved for what we radiate, rather than whom we try to portray.