COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Scott Rider was used to going fast. Now, slowed by Parkinson’s Disease, the former Ohio State athlete is using his battle to raise awareness about the disease nationwide.
“I kind of joke, I was once pretty fast and today I’m incredibly slow because of Parkinson’s,” jokes Rider. “And running is actually how I learned that I had Parkinson’s.”
A collegiate athlete, Rider has faced his share of challenges. But his diagnosis 16-years ago brought a new set of obstacles for the once two-time All-American.
“I tell you, I cried. My wife embraced me, and I knew right then my life would change forever,” Rider recalls of his diagnosis.
Now, the speedster won’t letting anything slow him from raising awareness about the disease.
“There are so many things I can’t do, but what I can do is be a resource, and create outreach, and awareness regarding Parkinson’s,” Rider encourages.
Scott and his close friend Jim Morgan are on a journey — ‘Parkinson’s Across America.’
“It’s just an amazing transformation when somebody comes out and realizes that there are other people like us that have it,” admits Morgan.
On Monday, they visited OhioHealth’s Neurological Wellness Center — a one-of-a-kind facility that serves people battling all forms of neurological diseases.
“We bring people in, and we diagnose them, but then it’s really important for us to educate them not only about the disorder, but also how they can use tools at their disposal to really take a lot of control of the disorder,” describes Dr. David Hinkle with OhioHealth.
The pair are striving to bring hope, not only to the experts pushing for new research, but those struggling to find the right care.
“This is a very isolating disease,” admits Morgan. “People tend to withdraw as they become more and more conscious or self-conscious about the limitations. And I just love the power of community.”
Scott, who now lives in South Carolina, still travels to Columbus regularly to meet with his treatment team.
He says their communal approach lets those, like him, battling know they’re not alone.
And as they make their way across the country, it’s Parkinson’s that’s their vehicle, but their mission that’s driving them.
“We’re in it to use our stories to help people know that when you’re diagnosed with Parkinson’s, it’s not the end of your life,” encourages Rider. “It’s the beginning of a new style of life.”
Scott and Jim will wrap up their journey across America in Phoenix, AZ in October. You can click here to follow and learn about their travels.
You can learn more about Parkinson’s Disease, the Parkinson’s Foundation, and available resources by calling 1-800-473-4636 or by clicking here.