2020. It started out with such optimism…..Team Kopacz traveled to Disney for a week of running, parks and warm weather! We ran alongside many friends from Team Fox grinding one day closer to an end to PD! Little did we know that in a few short months the world would be flipped upside down with the ramp-up of the COVID pandemic. Our life went from 5-6 days a week of work/school/sports to 7 days a week of shelter in place, working from home and distance learning for Luca, Henry, Charlie and Sofia! In fact, not much has changed as I am writing this update.
One bright spot of 2020 was that we found a Friday in July to have our 3rd Annual golf tournament. We made many changes to ensure everyone’s safety while continuing our mission to support the Parkinson’s community. We are extremely humbled by the support that we have received in three short years of the tournament. In the midst of the pandemic we raised $13,000 of which we split between the Michael J Fox Foundation and the University of MN. Team Kopacz has raised over $85,000 over the last 3 years! AMAZING! Our website photos have been updated to see our summer golf tournament memories. Thank you to everyone that supported us near and far. Block you calendars for July 16th, 2021 for our 4th annual event. More to come over the next few months.
The biggest challenge of the year for the Kopacz family was battling Jason's PD. Shortly after finishing the Dopey challenge in January we met with Jason's neurologist for his bi-annual check-in. During this visit we discussed the increasing side effects (dyskensias) and the increasing ups and downs typical of the progress of PD. He changed a few things with his medication but more importantly Dr. Tuite recommended that he should start the process towards Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery. Jason completed the medical examinations and tests in August and was given the green light to schedule the procedure within the next year. We discussed it and decided to proceed. The first surgery was scheduled for November 21st. Unfortunately, with COVID, it was delayed twice and tomorrow morning (January 18th at 7:30 am) Jason's first surgery will finally start! When you make a big decision like DBS it is very difficult to wait and have more time to worry. If you would like to learn more about DBS surgery visit the U of MN website udall.umn.edu/patients/learn-about-dbs. We are feeling very positive about this decision and grateful that Jason is a candidate for this life changing treatment.
In hopes of helping future generations, Parkinson's research is very important to Jason. Starting during his procedure tomorrow he will be part of four different research projects. Pretty much he is a rock star for going through this and still thinking about helping others.
We will try to update our website and/or Team Kopacz Facebook page as soon as we can to let you know how the surgery goes. Positive thoughts and prayers for Jason, his surgeon Dr McGovern, his medical team and our whole family are appreciated! Go Team Kopacz!
Love, Jason and Kristi
Exercise is the only countermeasure to slow the progression of Parkinson's disease. Our journey started in July of 2014 when Jason was diagnosed with PD at the age of 36. Since that day we have been living an extremely active life style. This blog will be mainly focused on the activities that support the day to day changes PD throws at us!