61 episodes

When Life Gives You Parkinson’s is an honest, funny, and engaging podcast chronicling host Larry Gifford’s personal journey with Parkinson’s disease. Gifford, his wife Rebecca, and their son Henry live in Vancouver, British Columbia. Gifford has worked in radio for nearly 30 years. In August 2017 he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at the age of 45. Now in its second season, When Life Gives You Parkinson’s is a first-hand account of what it is like to live with PD for Gifford, his family, and other members of the worldwide Parkinson’s community.

Answering probing questions from co-host Niki Reitmayer and letting listeners eavesdrop in on intimate chats with his wife, Gifford uses humour to diffuse heavy content and give the podcast a hopeful tone. He gives voice to Parkinson’s experts and advocates from around the world and together they openly tackle tough topics. The authentic, frank conversations along with compelling storytelling is what makes this podcast interesting, informative, and enlightening.

Special thank you to our partners. Presenting partner is Parkinson Canada, content and promotional partner Spotlight YOPD, and The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research Parkinson’s IQ + You.

When Life Gives You Parkinson's Curiouscast

    • Medicine

When Life Gives You Parkinson’s is an honest, funny, and engaging podcast chronicling host Larry Gifford’s personal journey with Parkinson’s disease. Gifford, his wife Rebecca, and their son Henry live in Vancouver, British Columbia. Gifford has worked in radio for nearly 30 years. In August 2017 he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at the age of 45. Now in its second season, When Life Gives You Parkinson’s is a first-hand account of what it is like to live with PD for Gifford, his family, and other members of the worldwide Parkinson’s community.

Answering probing questions from co-host Niki Reitmayer and letting listeners eavesdrop in on intimate chats with his wife, Gifford uses humour to diffuse heavy content and give the podcast a hopeful tone. He gives voice to Parkinson’s experts and advocates from around the world and together they openly tackle tough topics. The authentic, frank conversations along with compelling storytelling is what makes this podcast interesting, informative, and enlightening.

Special thank you to our partners. Presenting partner is Parkinson Canada, content and promotional partner Spotlight YOPD, and The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research Parkinson’s IQ + You.

    Shake With Me: One Family’s PD Journey

    Shake With Me: One Family’s PD Journey

    In this episode of When Life Gives You Parkinson’s, I talk with filmmaker Zack Grant, the driving force behind the Parkinson’s documentary, “Shake with Me.” The thirty-minute film was originally intended to document how Parkinson’s impacted and inspired Zack’s mom, Debra Magid, to return to her fine art roots and begin to paint bold, colorful, big-eyed, portraits. It turned into an intimate, authentic time capsule, capturing moments and conversations as a family wrestles with a Parkinson’s diagnosis.

    Debra was diagnosed in 2012. She decided to keep the Parkinson’s a secret from her kids. Debra explains her decision in the film, noting Zack was already out of the house, but his sister Elizabeth was still living at home. Debra said, “I was afraid if she thought I was sick that she wouldn’t even go to college. That she wouldn’t launch.”

    About a year later, Elizabeth found her Mom’s medication hidden in a drawer and that secret was out. The other secret Debra was keeping was that the Parkinson’s was motivating her to paint again. As a college student, she was an aspiring product designer and had a passion for fine air. Her diagnosis triggered that passion again. “What I’ve been doing is drawing faces, interpreting what the face is, and what I see in it. Kinda of telling a bit of a story.” Debra continues, “I do feel lucky to have found such a strong voice this late in life. I think Parkinson’s is like a little bird sitting on your shoulder going, ‘tick-tock, tick-tock.’ Time is going and don’t waste what you have.”

    After explaining the diagnosis to her family, it would be several more years until Debra was comfortable sharing the Parkinson’s diagnosis with everyone in her life and eventually everyone in the world through Zack’s film. “The film was supposed to be this very small piece about the juxtaposition of her art, her diagnosis and her changing health,” said Zack. At some point, he says the family realized it was much more than that, “There was this desire to have these conversations about how Parkinson’s has affected our family.” The film touches on advancing symptoms, decisions to take more and different drugs, the struggle of who to tell, when to tell them and how Parkinson’s impacts everyone in the family, not just the individual diagnosed.

    Today, Zack, Debra and the family are more open and honest with each other, because of the experiences they shared in making film. For Zack, the film has refocused his career, “I think this film was a really ambitious way of trying to get in touch with my feelings around Parkinson’s. Now I am in this place artistically where I want to do more personal stories. And in fact, I don’t want to touch anything that I can’t find a personal way in to.”

    The film “Shake with Me,” is available for small group screenings, film festivals and for free download on Vimeo. 

    Feel free to comment by leaving us a voice message here: https://www.speakpipe.com/WhenLifeGivesYouParkinsons

    Follow me, Larry Gifford 

    Twitter: @ParkinsonsPod

    Facebook: Facebook.com/ParkinsonsPod

    Instagram: @parkinsonspod

    Follow Co-host and Producer Niki Reitmeyer

    Twitter: @Niki_Reitmayer

    Thank you to our special guests: 

    Zack Grant, Debra’s son and filmmaker. This is the official website for shakewithmefilm.com

    View his film “Shake with Me” for free on vimeo. Check out his other work at zackgrant dot com.

    Debra Magid, for sharing her Parkinson’s story and her art. Check out her website www.DebraMagid.com .

    Jim Grant, Debra’s husband

    Elizabeth Grant, Debra’s Daughter

    Our presenting partner is Parkinson Canada http://www.parkinson.ca/

    The toll free hotline 1-800-565-3000

    Follow them on Twitter @ParkinsonCanada

    Find the new Parkinson Clinical Guideline www.parkinsonclinicalguideline.ca

    Thanks also to our content and

    • 31 min
    Misdiagnosis

    Misdiagnosis

    I will introduce you to Jeanette and Barry Pynn. They are friends of Rebecca and mine that just went through a gut-wrenching couple of years dealing with a misdiagnosis.

    Jeanette was a runner for her whole life. After decades of raising kids, a great marriage, and dreams of traveling and enjoying the final decades of life together, Jeanette’s gait changed. “I couldn’t flatten my foot out during a run,” she says. Doctors treated her foot issues for years through orthotics and creams. Three years later, the whole left side of her body shutdown after jumping into the Adriatic Sea. Something was definitely wrong.

    After months of tests, Jeanette received a diagnosis in the Parkinsonian family that she was not expecting: Multiple System Atrophy, also known as MSA. It carries similar symptoms to Parkinson’s but is more aggressive, has a quicker progression and is deadly. The Mayo Clinic reports people with MSA typically live seven to ten years after symptom onset. This is an important fact that Jeanette and Barry did not know and a vital detail that her neurologist failed to mention.

    Barry remembers leaving the appointment somewhat encouraged, “When we heard that it might be a relative of Parkinson's, it was actually it was a relief.” 

    That relief quickly gave way to fear, when Jeanette was waiting for her new prescriptions at Costco surfing the internet, “I was reading up on the disease and I looked over at Barry and I said, I don't think this is very good. And he said, In what way? And I said, I think you better read this because I can't I can't really explain it to you.”

    After two years of wrestling with the diagnosis, the disease, and her own impending death, Jeanette and Barry reached out for help. They were in search of support, community, information, context and understanding. Rebecca and I met Barry in the Spring of 2019 at the annual meeting for the Parkinson Society of British Columbia. They were listeners to the podcast and had traveled from Bowen Island, because they read we would be at the event and they wanted to connect. We chatted, they shared their story, and soon we discovered we got along. We became fast friends. And in the back of our heads, we understood we were entering into a friendship with Jeanette, at least, was a proposition that wouldn’t likely survive the next decade.

    Rebecca’s cell phone rang on a Saturday morning in September last year. It was Jeanette. She had seen a new neurologist, a movement disorder specialist, at the UBC Brain Centre. “She said that it's most likely certain that I have Parkinson's disease and not MSA.” Jeanette continued through tears, “Whoever thought they'd be so happy to have Parkinson’s?”

    The misdiagnosis of MSA is certainly not rare. A 2015 study featured on Neurology.org examined 134 autopsied brains of people who were clinically diagnosed MSA while living and only 63% had the correct diagnosis at death.

    As it relates to Parkinson’s disease, a new Parkinson’s UK study shows 25% of people with Parkinson’s are misdiagnosed. A third of those were given medication for an illness they didn’t have and a 10% underwent a needless operation or procedure.

    Misdiagnosis is likely to continue until researchers discover reliable biomarkers to aid in the diagnosis of Parkinson’s and related disease.

    Feel free to comment by leaving us a voice message here: https://www.speakpipe.com/WhenLifeGivesYouParkinsons

    Follow me, Larry Gifford 

    Twitter: @ParkinsonsPod

    Facebook: Facebook.com/ParkinsonsPod

    Instagram: @parkinsonspod

    Follow Co-host and Producer Niki Reitmeyer

    Twitter: @Niki_Reitmayer

    Thank you to our special guests: 

    Jeanette Fisher Pynn

    Barry Pynn

    Wendy Edey, Facilitor of Hope at “Hope Studies Central” https://sites.google.com/a/ualberta.ca/hope-studies/home

    Dr. Jonathon Squires at Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for B

    • 52 min
    The Parkinson’s Legacy of Muhammad Ali

    The Parkinson’s Legacy of Muhammad Ali

    In this episode of When Life Gives You Parkinson’s, we explored the Parkinson’s legacy of Muhammad Ali. He was a boxer, a philanthropist, a Civil Rights leader, a dedicated Muslim and an advocate for Parkinson’s.

    In retracing the onset of Ali’s Parkinson’s disease, it is evident he was aware, his doctor was aware and the public was aware that something was happening even as his boxing career was continuing on. The slowness, rigidity, and slurred speech all can be traced back to the mid-70s. Ali’s physician and corner man Dr. Ferdie Pacheco noticed the champ was slipping neurologically in 1977 and resigned after Ali, his wife and trainers ignored his concerns of brain damage which he warned could lead to Parkinson’s.

    Looking back at Ali in the ring and on talk show interviews from that year through his diagnosis in 1984, you can hear his voice change and his movements slow down. This is how he described what it felt like to him on The Dick Cavett Show, “You see what you wanna do. I should really hit you. Right? And then, I throw one and it lands right there. I miss you. And you see punches coming and you can get away quick enough…”

    In an interview with the When Life Gives You Parkinson’s podcast, Muhammad Ali’s daughter Rasheda Ali Walsh, shares that the journey for diagnosis for her Dad was not much different from most. “I was told that a lot of doctors misdiagnosed him because he was so young and a lot of people thought he was just kind of remnants from the boxing career,” she said. Ali’s first symptom was a tremor in his thumb, he started to move slower and then after that his voice softened and speech began to slur.

    Rasheda says accepting the diagnosis also was not easy for her Dad, “My dad felt that everything happens for a reason and I know how cliche that may sound. But he was, of course, distraught when he was diagnosed.” Rasheda says he shied away from public speaking in the 80’s when his voice started to be impacted by the disease. “You know, his mouth was something that made him a lot of money and made him dynamic. And, you know, when he started to speak a little softer, he got a little insecure about speaking,” she said. Ali eventually accepted his diagnosis and his attitude went from insecure to realizing he need to grab a hold of it full force to see what he could do with it to help change the world.

    There is something comforting to hear about the struggles Muhammad Ali had in acknowledging initial symptoms, getting diagnosed, accepting the diagnosis, figuring out who to tell and when tell them, and even wrestling with the concept of when to stop working. These are issues and decisions we all share with “The Greatest.” Either Ali was cut down to be seen as human or we all have been lifted up and are doing a whole lot better than we think.

    Thank you for listening. Add your voice to the show and leave a message for us here; https://www.speakpipe.com/WhenLifeGivesYouParkinsons

    Follow me, Larry Gifford 

    Twitter: @ParkinsonsPod

    Facebook: Facebook.com/ParkinsonsPod

    Instagram: @parkinsonspod

    Follow Co-host and Producer Niki Reitmeyer

    Twitter: @Niki_Reitmayer

    If you want more information on the studies around pugilistic Parkinson’s you can find the information in the Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology through an article titled “Lewy Body Pathology and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Associated With Contact Sports

    Thank you to…

    NBC’s Tonight with Jack Parr  1963

    BBC’s “Parkinson” with Michael Parkinson, 1978

    BBC Documentary “One Punch Too Many”

    David Letterman, World Wide Pants 1984

    Phil Donahue, Multimedia Inc., 1990

    Diane Sawyer, ABC News

    NBC’s Today Show, NBC News, Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie

    HBO Sports, “Inside Sports” and Bryant Gumble

     

    And thank you to our special guests: 

     

    Rasheda Ali Wa

    • 42 min
    A health update from Larry

    A health update from Larry

    Hey folks, its Larry. We need to chat. A few Thursday’s ago, I was sitting in my office having a meeting and suddenly my nose begins to bleed. Weird. I grab some tissues. I’ve had bloody noses before and they stop in a few minutes. This was a gusher and it wasn’t stopping. 40 minutes into the bloody nose we called 9-1-1. Medics came, put a plastic clamp on my nose and took me to St. Paul’s Hospital. After a few hours the bleeding stopped. The ER doc asked a few questions and sent me home.

    I had 10 nose bleeds over the course of the next 4 days, but continued working through my packed schedule. I flew to Toronto for meetings the Monday after. I had three nose bleeds that day. Tuesday, during a meeting I had one and then as we were wrapping up dinner I had another. I had kept my nose clamp from the ambulance ride, so I was expert at dealing with it. At dinner, I said folks, “It’s time for me to leave. As you can see I have a stylish nose clamp, which means my nose is bleeding and it is time for me to catch an Uber.”

    A colleague of mine, Mike, rode with me. We were at the same hotel. He said, “I’m right upstairs if you need me.” I said thanks and assured him I was fine. I wasn’t fine. 10 minutes later I send him an email no one wants to get, the subject line read, “Help 911.”

    Within those 10 minutes, the blood had begun to gush out both nostrils through the clamp and I started to cough, choke and gag on it. I could hardly catch my breath. I dialed 9-1-1. After they confirmed an ambulance was on its way, I called my wife Rebecca in tears, choking on my on blood, in full panic attack mode I told her I loved her.

    My colleague Mike arrived a minute later. Rebecca and Mike exchanged information. Mike kept her in the loop the whole night. He rode in the ambulance with me to St. Michael’s Hospital. Meanwhile, I’m still bleeding, still coughing up blood and spitting out big clots. It was gross. The doctor sprayed some anti-decongestion in my nostrils to help close the blood vessels. She then shoved a big wad of gauze up my nose with numbing and clotting medication. It took three or four hours for the bleeding to stop. I stayed in Toronto for two extra days, resting in a hotel, nursing my continuing bloody nose.

    I emailed my neurologist who said; A) It’s not Parkinson’s related. B) It’s not Parkinson’s medication related. C) Get off the aspirin. At some point, I was told it was a good idea to take a low dose aspirin once a day to prevent stroke and heart attack. After seeing my GP, she said, “Yeah, were not recommending that anymore.” Getting off the aspirin and out of the sky was the key to controlling the nose bleeds. I had been on 13 roundtrip flights in 16 weeks. Too much recycled air will dry out your nose. The aspirin counter-acted the blood platelets clotting ability.

    Both my GP and Neurologist have also suggested I need to slow down. So, I’m slowing down. I am peeling back commitments and travel. I’ll still do some, but not as much. I need to say no more, know my limits, and admit out loud that I can’t do everything. It starts with the podcast. Effective in December, we will release a new podcast every other week. We’ll take two weeks off at the end of the year and be back on January 8th.

    Thank you for listening. Add your voice to the show and leave a message for us here; https://www.speakpipe.com/WhenLifeGivesYouParkinsons

    Follow me, Larry Gifford 

    Twitter: @ParkinsonsPod

    Facebook: Facebook.com/ParkinsonsPod

    Instagram: @parkinsonspod

    Follow Co-host and Producer Niki Reitmeyer

    Twitter: @Niki_Reitmayer

    Thank you to…

     

    Rebecca Gifford, my wife and partner in Parkinson’s  

    Our presenting partner is Parkinson Canada http://www.parkinson.ca/

    The toll free hotline 1-800-565-3000

    Or follow them on Twitter @ParkinsonCanada

     

    Thanks also to our content and

    • 6 min
    They Say Laughter is the Best Medicine

    They Say Laughter is the Best Medicine

    In this episode of When Life Gives You Parkinson’s, I put the old adage “laughter is the best medicine” to the test. I go through improvisational comedy training and perform live on stage for the first time in nearly thirty years. Plus, I connect with four people who live with Parkinson’s; Glenn Lurie, Kitty Fitton, Phil “Badger” Smith and Paul Mayhew-Archer. They all have turned to stand-up comedy after their PD diagnosis.

    Paul Mayhew-Archer, star of the one-man show “Incurable Optimist,” admits he gets a pleasant dopamine rush on stage, but he says it’s not the same as medicine, “So, I mean, they say that laughter is the best medicine. And, you know, it's rubbish, because in my case Sinemet is the best medicine. But laughter is certainly pretty high up on the list.” Sinemet is the brand name of Carbidopa-Levodopa, the gold-standard treatment for Parkinson’s disease.

    Aside from the dopamine hit, comedian Phil “Badger” Smith has discovered it helps with some specific symptoms of Parkinson’s, “Apart from anything else helps of practicing speech and confidence and helps to battle depression and anxiety. Because you're performing and if people are laughing at your jokes, it gives you a real buzz.”

    I participated in a series of three workshops called “Improv for Parkinson’s” at Vancouver Theatre SportsImprov Comedy Institute, which concluded with a live performance. For me, performing on stage was such a rush, it triggered a bloody nose as soon as I stepped on stage and heard the applause and roar of the crowd. I had to excuse myself before introductions. I quickly shoved tissue up my nostril and clamped my nostrils shut and returned to the stage. After all, they show must go, but more importantly, improv training taught us to roll with the punches. With Parkinson’s, improv and life, the more you can be in the present moment and react to what is right in front of you, the easier it all becomes.

    Improvisational comedy and Parkinson’s was the focus of a first-of-its-kind research projectat North Western University in 2017 in conjunction with the Second City School of Improvisation in Chicago. The results show that despite common amotivation and symptomatic apathy and unlike therapies and exercise classes, the improv workshops were well attended and enjoyed among patients of PD of varying ages and disease severity. In regards to measures of efficacy, the only variable that improved significantly was the change in UPDRS part II, which focuses on how difficult the activities of daily living are for people with Parkinson’s. Researchers believe this preliminary finding may be a result of the humor and games that aimed at improving communications skills, stigma, anxiety and quality of life. More research will need to be done before the positive impacts of improv on Parkinson’s are confirmed.

     

    Thank you for listening. Add your voice to the show and leave a message for us here; https://www.speakpipe.com/WhenLifeGivesYouParkinsons

    Follow me, Larry Gifford 

    Twitter: @ParkinsonsPod

    Facebook: Facebook.com/ParkinsonsPod

    Instagram: @parkinsonspod

    Follow Co-host and Producer Niki Reitmeyer

    Twitter: @Niki_Reitmayer

    Thank you to…

    Vancouver TheatreSports Improv Comedy

    Dan Dumsha Improv performer, instructorand executive coachhas a website www.dandumsha.comand can be found on Facebook @Dan.Dumsha, twitter@dandumshaand Instagram @dandumsha

    Johnny Kerrigan is in the Vancouver TheatreSports rookie league.

    My Improv Troupe
    Norm Blain
    Creston Froats
    Peter Jarvis
    Geoff Cohen
    Richard Froese
    John Hougan

    Glenn Lurie is living in North Carolina. Here is a link to the articlethat first peaked my interest in Glenn. You can follow him on Facebook @Glennluriecomedianand twitter @GMLurie.

    Kitty Fitton can be found at her website www.kittyfitton.comand you can follower her on twitter @kitty_

    • 54 min
    Parkinson’s is a family affair | 7

    Parkinson’s is a family affair | 7

    In this episode, we discuss what it is like to a get a diagnosis of Parkinson’s in the prime of your life when you are happily married with four kids and had been anticipating a return to full time work after a tour of duty has a full time Mom.

    On her website, www.kittyfitton.com , she says, “I am a comedian, Aviation fiend, Air-Scout leader, mother, wife, friend, and I have Parkinson’s Disease. It’s the last thing that’s the real kick in the guts, but also the thing that has helped to transform my life from humdrum to extraordinary.” What I like so much about Kitty is that she is real, authentic and vulnerable. I relate a lot to her story.

    Kitty was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in early 2016. Originally, from North of England, Kitty and her husband Craig have been raising their four kids in New Zealand since 2011. When the diagnosis came, Kitty admits she cried for days. A visit from a Parkinson’s New Zealand associate gave her the information and inspiration she needed to move forward. Kitty admits though, she and Craig often say they like the taste of sand, because all too often they put their heads in the sand when it comes to the realities of Parkinson’s disease.

    In the past year, if they are being honest with each other about the PD, Kitty and Craig have noticed changes. Her gait is more pronounced and she uses poles for tramping. They both also notice her face is a bit droopier and more masked than a year ago at this time.

    Kitty remembers a time, pre-diagnosis; they used to sit out back, with a glass of wine, under the stars, planning grand tours of Europe. But, at some point that stopped dreaming about the future and now fear it or don’t discuss it at all. After all, when it comes to future planning, fears of disease progression can be paralyzing. In a recent conversation, Kitty says Craig lamented that because of the Parkinson’s they could not plan anymore. She argued, “I can still do stuff.” Admittedly, she is slower, but she still dreams, still plans and still has a lot of living to do.

    That being said, Kitty does fear the days when she will need more assistance, “I’m terrified of losing cognitive ability and of not being independent.” However, she has warned her husband about one thing, “If you ever tell someone you are my carer in public, I will punch you.” 

    These honest, tearful and hysterical moments of conversation between spouses, exchanging fears and assumptions, are happening with couples and families dealing with Parkinson’s around the world. I thank Kitty sharing her story and for giving us a peek inside her family life. No matter how different our journeys may be, the conversations couples and families have through tears and fears is universal and makes us all feel a bit more normal when we realize we aren’t the only ones who stopped dreaming about vacations or who’ve come to the conclusion that denial tastes a lot like sand.

    If you have a comment or question about the podcast, you can email usparkinsonspod@curiouscast.ca

    We invite you to add your voice to the show and leave a message for us here;https://www.speakpipe.com/WhenLifeGivesYouParkinsons

    Follow me, Larry Gifford 

    Twitter: @ParkinsonsPod

    Facebook: Facebook.com/ParkinsonsPod

    Instagram: @parkinsonspod

    Follow Co-host and Producer Niki Reitmayer

    Twitter: @Niki_Reitmayer

    Special thanks to… 

    Niki Reitmayer for picking up the slack, while I recover from some random non-PD health stuff.

    Kitty Fitton. Follow her on twitter @kitty_fitton, or go to her website https://www.kittyfitton.com/

    The book from Parkinson’s New Zealand that Kitty referenced is available as a PDF download on the web. Just click here “Guide to Newly Diagnosed.”

    For more info on our presenting partner Parkinson Canada head to http://www.parkinson.ca/Toll Free Hotline 1-800-565-3000 or follow them on Twitter @

    • 18 min

Customer Reviews

Caseyshap ,

... Make Time to Listen

When Life Gives You Parkinson’s is an honest, funny and engaging podcast chronicling host Larry Gifford’s personal journey with Parkinson’s disease.

Gifford, his wife Rebecca and their son, Henry live in Vancouver, British Columbia. Gifford has worked as a radio reporter and manager for almost 30 years. On August 17, 2017, Gifford was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at the age of 45. A year later, on June 29, 2018, he started recording his podcast. Now in its second season, When Life Gives You Parkinson’s is a first-hand account of what it’s like to live with Parkinson’s disease for Gifford, his family, and other members of the Parkinson’s community.

Along with co-host/producer, Niki Reitmeyer, the episodes in Gifford’s second season are released every second Wednesday, with bonus episodes called “Extra Dosage” in between. He shares his journey with Parkinson’s through conversation with and audio clips of Reitmeyer, his family, medical professionals, experts, and other patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Gifford’s podcast works best when it is honest and personal. In the first episode of season two, “Still Me, But Not The Same”, Gifford shares the changes that he and his family have noticed in him in the past year. Gifford updates listeners on his symptoms, and his wife and son talk candidly about his changing behaviours. Rebecca gives examples of Gifford’s shortened fuse, and 10-year-old Henry tells his dad that his friends are afraid of him. It’s heartbreaking until Gifford asks, “How’s my walking?”, and Henry responds with an over-exaggerated, “Terrible!”

In “Extra Dosage: Fundraising is a Family Affair”, listeners have the opportunity to meet Gifford’s extended family in Pickerington, Ohio. His nephew, Anthony Kerman, 32, is an avid runner who organized a 5K walk/run called “Tremor Trot”. The race raised $8,000 for The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. Gifford’s family is supportive but worried. Gifford’s mother tells him that she thinks he’s doing too much and she’s worried that he’s never at home with his family.

Gifford’s show is educational too. In the “Extra Dosage” episodes, the podcast highlights a series of free events called “Parkinson’s IQ + You” from The Michael J. Fox Foundation. Gifford will be travelling around the United States to host these events in the coming months.

In “Extra Dosage: Dyskinesia”, the listener learns about dyskinesia. Dyskinesia is uncontrolled, involuntary movements that occur as a reaction to the long-term drug, levodopa. Fellow Parkinson’s patients Jim Smerdon and Becca Miller join Gifford to talk about their experiences with dyskinesia. It’s interesting and informative, but when it’s not relatable to the listener, it’s not as engaging.

The podcast doesn’t advertise products, but there are presenting partners. Parkinson Canada, Spotlight YOPD, and the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research Parkinson’s IQ + You are organizations and events concerned with Parkinson’s disease, and a great match for the target audience. Judging by the reviews, a lot of Gifford’s listeners are people who have Parkinson’s disease and their loved ones.

Gifford and his family have opened up their lives to their listeners. Using humour to diffuse heavy content, Gifford keeps the tone of the podcast positive and light. When Life Gives You Parkinson’s is engaging and relatable, especially when it is about Gifford’s family. In the moments where the podcast becomes more educational, it can sometimes start to lose its audience. All in all, When Life Gives You Parkinson’s is an inspiring and honest podcast which invites the listener to share the experience of living with a family member who has Parkinson’s disease.

Johnny YVR ,

When life gives your Parkinson’s

Simply informative spot on the money with all that goes on with Parkinson’s disease. This is an immensely important podcast to the community in Canada and North America and where people can get it around the world. Don’t miss An episode

Lizzypd ,

When life gives you Parkinsons

Excellent! Larry Gifford communicates through his blog anything and everything to do with Parkinson’s disease. PD entered my life in 2010 and I’m so pleased & thankful Larry stepped up to the plate with courage and professionalism to deliver this gutsy, transparent and educational series. Educate yourself and check it out! And SHARE! 👍

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