Why we walk: 'Tony's Team of Angels' walks in honor of family patriarch

  • "Tony's Team of Angels," family and friends of Tony Coleman of Carpentersville, before the start of Moving Day Chicago in 2019. Tony was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2016.

    "Tony's Team of Angels," family and friends of Tony Coleman of Carpentersville, before the start of Moving Day Chicago in 2019. Tony was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2016. Courtesy of The Coleman Family

 
By Beth Richman
Public Relations, Parkinson’s Foundation
Posted10/21/2021 8:00 AM

The Coleman family knew very little about Parkinson's disease when their patriarch, Tony, was diagnosed with the neurodegenerative disorder in 2016.

Tony had been fatigued and his movements had slowed. At age 56, he suspected his health was compromised, but never imagined the changes were due to Parkinson's.

 

Throughout the years, Tony's energy levels continued to decrease and he began experiencing tremors, but medication and lifestyle changes helped him maintain a good quality of life.

In early 2021, Tony's physician recognized he might benefit from Deep Brain Stimulation, which is a neurosurgical procedure that uses implanted electrodes and electrical stimulation to treat movement disorders and other neurological conditions.

Doctors may use DBS when medications have become less effective, or if their side effects interfere with a person's daily activities.

Tony qualified for the surgery, which was completed in June 2021. As he continues through the adjustment phase, Tony's health is improving and his vibrant personality has returned.

"We feel as though he is back," said Yubrea Rivers Coleman, Tony's daughter. "He is able to work and drive again, enjoy his 16 grandchildren, and connect with us in a way that he hasn't since the diagnosis."

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Family is extremely important to the Colemans. After learning about the Parkinson's Foundation's Moving Day Chicago event in 2019, Yubrea secretly recruited relatives to walk as "Tony's Team of Angels" in honor of her dad.

Tony Coleman of Carpentersville at the 2019 Moving Day Chicago walk to benefit the Parkinson's Foundation. This year's event takes place Oct. 24 at Soldier Field.
Tony Coleman of Carpentersville at the 2019 Moving Day Chicago walk to benefit the Parkinson's Foundation. This year's event takes place Oct. 24 at Soldier Field. - Courtesy of The Coleman Family

He was grateful and touched by this gesture.

While at Moving Day, the family learned about resources and support services near Tony's Carpentersville home that have since proven to be helpful as Tony moves through his Parkinson's journey.

On Oct. 24, "Tony's Team of Angels" will participate in Moving Day Chicago at Soldier Field. As team captain, Yubrea is creating team T-shirts and leading the fundraising efforts. The team aims to raise $1,000 for the Parkinson's Foundation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Moving Day Chicago

Moving Day Chicago is a movement for change -- toward more awareness, more funding and more understanding of Parkinson's disease.

Moving Day Chicago will begin at 9 a.m. and feature fitness demonstrations, information booths, the We Move Ceremony and the family-friendly walk along the lakefront. Approximately 2,000 people are expected to gather for the event in Soldier Field's South Lot, and the Parkinson's Foundation seeks to raise $350,000 from Moving Day Chicago.

To learn more and register for Moving Day Chicago, visit MovingDayChicago.org. Registration is free and participants are encouraged to fundraise.

Parkinson's disease

Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative, progressive disorder that affects dopamine-producing neurons in a specific area of the brain called substantia nigra.

People with PD may experience tremors, slowness of movements, gait and balance problems, and non-motor symptoms, including depression, anxiety, constipation and cognitive impairment.

Approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with PD each year, and in Illinois there are an estimated 29,700 people living with Parkinson's disease.

For more information, visit the Parkinson's Foundation's website, www.parkinson.org.

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