If you would prefer to search for a mentor by phone, please call us at 619-373-5476.
(If you are having a medical emergency, please call 911.)
I have been a teacher all my professional life and as a past president of the Parkinson’s Association in San Diego I received lots of phone calls from newly diagnosed patients and was able to talk them through the shock of the new diagnosis and show them all of the resources that are available to them at our association.
Born in 1947 in Sioux Falls, So Dakota. Graduated from University of So Dakota with majors in Math and Physics in 1969. Received an MBA in 1970. Entered the workforce with the CPA firm Peat Marwick Mitchell and Co. (now KPMG). Went to work for a client in the printing field. In 1978, formed Applied Graphics, Inc. Built the company to $37MM in revenue in 2006 at which time sold the business to a public company. Currently live in San Diego with wife of 40 years. Two grown children both live in San Diego. Core belief…you are only limited by your goals.
When I was first diagnosed September 2019, I didn’t know anything about Parkinson’s. I had been having various symptoms for months which resulted in me being sent to the ER by an Urgent Care doctor and then by ambulance again by my Primary Care doctor who thought I was having a stroke. I had multiple tests and MRIs but no diagnosis. I was seen by a neurologist twice and then finally was sent for a DATScan which confirmed with my symptoms that I had PD. I educated myself as much as possible and I am now involved in multiple research studies and I want to be able to help others that are newly diagnosed to understand what is happening to them and to be able to get the resources and help they need.
I have lived with Parkinson’s since my diagnosis in 2012 when I suffered a severe side effect from the anesthesia given in my back surgery. Typical of Parkinson’s, I suffered through 21 days before they figured out what was going on and brought a neurologist to make the proper diagnosis. It was a diagnosis of exclusion given when all else had been eliminated. Since then it has been the pink elephant in the room with regard to my condition and every decision that I make regarding where I live and whether I drive. I was able to medically control the Parkinson’s until recently when I underwent DBS surgery which was an adventure in itself.
If you’re feeling lost and overwhelmed then drop me a line to talk to some one who has been there, done that.
Sam is President of the North County Parkinson’s Support Group. He has been on that board for 9 years and serves as the leader of the La Costa support group. He was his wife’s care partner for their 22 year journey with Parkinson’s before she passed in 2018 from Parkinson’s Dementia. Sam and Ruth raised their two wonderful boys in Tucson where they both had careers in education. They enjoyed several years of RV trips throughout the American West and Canada. Sam took long motorcycle rides in the summer including one trip from Tucson to Banff, Alberta. They moved to Oceanside 10 years ago. Sam is available to mentor care partners who have dementia by email only.
Contact Sam (please note, Sam is available as a mentor by email only):
My father had Parkinson’s and was diagnosed at age 86 years young. I knew there was something wrong with myself but decided I would delay my diagnosis until my father passed. I was officially diagnosed with PD in 2009. I recently had DBS surgery which in my case benefited me greatly. I know first hand how PD affects one’s self, parents, spouses, children, friends, work as well as the financial burdens that arise.
My career involved extensive international travel running a large export business, global sourcing, marketing, distribution as well international marketing. During my 30 years of working with my organization I was also involved with paper machines, box plants, Kyoto protocol/climate change and ensuring compliance with the UN. Finally, I was part of the key management team involved financial resources, SPACS, and liquidating companies
I have been retired since I was 50 years old and find myself wanting to give more of myself to others as well as benefit from listening, sharing, and experiencing the joy that today and tomorrow holds for all of us.
Paul leads the Oceanside chapter of North County Parkinson’s Support Group and is NCPSG Board president. He was care partner for his wife Eva in her 21-year battle with Parkinson’s, and serves the Parkinson’s community in her honor and memory.
He grew up in San Diego and Orange Counties, served in the US Navy Reserve, and became a firefighter/paramedic for Vista Fire, promoting to Fire Marshal, serving 26 years. Soon after retiring from Vista, he joined the County as they established the San Diego County Fire Authority, serving again as a Fire Marshal for another eight years. He retired for a second time to become fulltime care partner for Eva.
Eva and Paul’s experience with Parkinson’s Support Groups and Parkinson’s Association of San Diego helped them anticipate challenges and discover coping skills in their Parkinson’s journey. “We learned so much, built wonderful friendships, and enriched our lives through those relationships.”
I have had Parkinson’s Disease for over eight years. I began showing non-motor and motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease when I was about 50 years old, but I was not diagnosed by a neurologist until I was 55 years old. At that time was still working as a senior level executive with the the largest construction material supplier in the US.
I am married with three daughters, the youngest is in her second year of college. I put a lot of value in leading a healthy lifestyle, eating the right foods, exercising the mind and body, and remaining socially active in my local community. I was able to work until I was 61 years old and then I went on disability.
The wide range of experiences I’ve had since my diagnosis have really equipped me to be able to help people in a similar situation. What do I bring to the table personally? Dealing with a growing family was a challenge, my daughter was 12 years old when I was diagnosed. Negotiating through informing my employer about my diagnosis until leaving the company on my own terms 6 years later. Working a very high pressure and fast paced job while Parkinson’s began to affect my physical and emotional state. Obtaining SSA disability status and award. Staying informed about Parkinson’s disease through websites, podcasts, and my local support group. My personal experience with various therapists to stay ahead of disease symptoms and be as proactive as possible.
Probably the most important thing is I really believe in being the best person I can be in every situation. I believe the key to that is being a good listener – nothing is more important than that! And usually that’s what we all want, someone to listen to us and express some empathy. That’s what makes somebody a good mentor.
66 years old, recently ended a successful 43 year career in the building material distribution industries.
Celebrated 43 year marriage anniversary in March 2021, five adult kids and two grandchildren.
Enjoy playing golf and some sort of physical exercise daily. Stay active managing rentals and co-manage my retirement programs. Strong faith in God.
I was diagnosed with PD in August 2016. Needless to say, I was shocked. I know how difficult it is to talk about PD with family, friends and acquaintances. It’s easier to talk about the disease with people who have it. Few of my friends know I have PD. I want to be a mentor to share what I have learned about PD because it is such a complicated disease. It is especially scary when you are recently diagnosed and you want to know the best treatment options to slow the progression. There is so much information on the internet, and when you talk to other people with Parkinson’s, their treatment is never the same.
My background: I had a 30-year career as a Communications Advisor to C-level executives at IBM in New York. I also was a reporter in the Los Angeles bureau of the UPI wire service and a writer/photographer for a New York-based trade magazine publisher. After retiring from IBM in 2011, I was Director of Special Projects and Administration for New York Junior Tennis & Learning, a nonprofit that combines tennis and an after-school program to keep at-risk youth off the streets. I also was on the Board of Directors for Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison, which provides a college education to individuals incarcerated in New York prisons. Although I have PD, I’m an avid tennis player and scuba diver.
Marty was diagnosed with essential tremor in 2004 and with Parkinson’s in 2010. Marty says that she experienced symptoms of gait disturbance, dystonia, and REM sleep behavior disorder 10 years prior to her diagnosis. After her progression through the grieving process, Marty decided that her life would not be defined by her diagnosis. Marty felt called to help others who share this journey and quickly became involved with the Parkinson’s Association of San Diego. Serving as board member of the Parkinson’s Association of San Diego and as an ambassador to the Davis Phinney Foundation, she targeted her knowledge and passion towards educating others living with Parkinson’s, encouraging exercise and socialization and helping others to find their best life. Marty is most proud of her involvement in the development and implementation of an integrated, medically evidence based program for people with Parkinson’s at a local wellness center.
Marty is an avid traveler with her husband and their travel van, having covered 35 states and multiple national parks. Exercise, enjoying the ocean and beach, maintaining and cultivating new friendships, learning new things and sharing her positive outlook are all vital to her daily life.
Lisa is a clinical neuroscientist for Parkinson’s and her work was inspired by her mother’s struggle with a movement disorder. Working closely with people with Parkinson’s has helped her understand how to help and she has been recognized with the Dunay Quality of Life award for her compassionate work. Her area of expertise is in using neuroscience-based tools and technology to improve the daily life of people with Parkinson’s. If you find yourself overwhelmed by information overload she can help you search for what is best for you.
I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in August 2019 and was shocked. As a psychology research scientist, I felt the need to learn what I could about PD and deal with it from both medical and psychological perspectives. Along the way, I have blogged about it on my Psychology Today blog as “A Scientist Grapples With Parkinson’s Disease” and a one-year update. Along with my scientific mind seeking an understanding, I am also part of a five-person PD support group that meets weekly and discusses topics ranging from our personal fears and successes to our meds, to the newest PD research. That combination of information and support has been VERY helpful in dealing with my PD. Personally, my PD is in an interesting state with tremors controlled by meds (unless I get stressed) but cognitive issues showing up although it’s hard to disentangle cognitive issues from aging issues. I still have some other minor symptoms mostly typing as my left hand can no longer keep up with my right when typing. A true challenge! I am 71 and just retired from 45 years teaching psychology at CSU Dominguez Hills in LA. For the last 35+ years I taught and studied the psychological impact of technology.
As a PWP I feel that I am in a unique position to be of help to those in the Parkinson’s community. I used to be a very physically active person, competitive figure skating, ultimately ending up coaching. I also marched in the high school and college bands. I worked continuously from age fifteen until age forty four when I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. When I was diagnosed, I was eight years into my second career, having medically retired from the first. I have much to offer to my fellow PWP’s and am hoping that by sharing my story I can improve someone’s life and quell the fears that we face as we navigate our new normal.
I have been a primary Care Partner for my loved one for the past 12 years. We have experienced and learned much on this Parkinson’s journey. I compare the journey to a river, early on symptoms progress slowly and life is smooth for the most part.
As the journey progresses from calm still waters to running stream and encountering rough waters & surprise waterfalls down stream, I’ve learned to be flexible and do all I can to prepare.
I am a Support Group leader of local NCPSG chapter, attend PD seminars, participate in Care Partner group meetings.
I work part time in the Hospitality Industry and retired after working 33 years in management for JCPenney department store.
I have a passion for people and my mission to serve others.
After my retirement, my husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, with Lewy Body dementia eventually added to the DX. Prior to that we were overseers of his mother’s Parkinsons caretaking. In the 8 years of being his caretaker, I learned much about my role and about PD from him (both as a patient and as a retired physician). People skills, caring, listening, patience, time management, gratitude for the joyful, happy times are some of the things I learned on this journey. Now I want to share what I learned with other caretakers.
My B.S. degree is in Business Administration. Work experience includes public schools, interfacing with students, staff, and parents daily, often in unscripted situations.
Edna Culp from San Diego, CA is an Advance Practice Nurse/Clinical Nurse Specialist with focus in adult Gerontology, currently affiliated with University of California San Diego Health. Edna is married to Mark who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease (PD). Diagnosis came in year 2000 when they had been married for 10 years. They celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary in June 2020, hence they had been living with this uninvited guest in their home for more than 20 years. Mark is now in the last stages of PD with Dementia and at times does not recognize her and their daughters, and is now requiring full care, 24-7 at home.
This has become a life of service and there is passion, joy and reward in sharing with others what was experienced and learned down this difficult road.
The tremors started seemingly out of the blue, the diagnosis was made, but it wasn’t for another couple years that I realized life could go on with joy, purpose and meaning in spite of and because of PD. With the loving support of my husband, friends and members of the Parkinson’s support group we belong to, my world has expanded to include knowledge of the disease, treatment options, healthy lifestyle choices and hope for the future. Having just completed the DBS surgery and programing, I am looking forward to hours of increased on-time, fewer hours of dyskinesia and tremor and less medicine.
Retired elementary school teacher, wife of husband Aaron for 40 years, mother of three children in their 30s, and grandmother of four, I love to read, hang out with friends, putter around in my garden, travel, and play with the grandkids.
I was diagnosed with advanced stage YOPD at age 40. I have been through many ups and downs but nothing has made as much impact on my journey as having a mentor. It gave me a sense of hope to understand that others have the same struggles and continue to thrive! My goal is to help other young people with Parkinson’s navigate their journey as we are met with the challenges of school age children, careers and relationships.
Retired Marine Corps fighter pilot, diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease on my 48th birthday. As a Marine I had been accustomed to a high level of fitness and coordination. My duties included flying high performance jets aboard aircraft carriers, a four year tour as a Topgun instructor, and squadron commander. It was humbling to learn that I had PD. In the 21 years since, there have been many trials and challenges, but there have also been many blessings and great hope.
It is important to share some encouragement with others as they start their journeys.
I met my wife when we were both Disneyland employees and we have been married 50 years. I owned a running store for 5 years and then became a sales rep for ASICS Tiger for 12 years. I became the National Team Sales Manager, in charge of selling team shoes to schools and other entities. Retired on disability from Parkinson’s symptoms. Have undergone 6 major spine surgeries along with heart, brain, 2 shoulders and 1 knee surgery. I have a Deep Brain Stimulator. I’m the proud parent of 3 adult children. I’m on the Board of Directors of the Tremble Clefs, a singing based voice enhancer, and am a discussion group leader for the North County Parkinson’s Discussion Group. I teach a Bible study for people with Parkinson’s, called Movers and Shakers, and participate in 2 other weekly studies but I welcome interaction with people of any level of faith.
My wife Sheri and I moved from Nebraska to Carlsbad, CA in 1999. We were semi-retired after I left the corporate world and we sold the fine dine restaurant that we owned and Sheri managed for 16 years. After a year we both accepted jobs with our church. I became the Controller and IT Manager and Sheri was the Administrative Assistant to the Missions pastor and the Life After 50 ministry. In 2006 Sheri was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. We weren’t too concerned since her father had Parkinson’s disease and did fine. Her disease progressed slowly and her symptoms increased each year. She had dyskinesia, bradykinesia, “freezing”, Parkinson’s dementia, and Parkinson’s psychosis as well as restless leg syndrome. By 2016 I became her 24/7 caregiver. God took her home in September 2019 after 58 years of marriage. Along the way I learned so much about how to lovingly care for the love of my life and face the challenges that Parkinson’s disease presents on the journey. I am retired and continue to volunteer with the Care ministry at my church.
Mentors Who Have a Waiting List:
Lisa was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in November 2019 at 51.. She continues to lead an active lifestyle and is a Corporate Administrative Associate and Paralegal at Gossamer Bio. She has held administrative / paralegal positions in a variety of industries: legal, home security, semiconductor distribution, software data back-up and recovery, private lending and banking, and most recently, biotech. Additionally, Lisa served a brief period in Washington D.C., where she interacted daily with the White House, House of Representatives, and the Senate. Previously, Lisa served in the United States Air Force (USAF) and the United States Air Force Reserves. She received her paralegal training in the USAF, and Lisa received her Paralegal Certificate from University of California, San Diego Extension program.
Sandy is a lifelong learner who enjoys sharing her knowledge and experiences with others. She is the care partner for her husband who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2006. As Parkinson’s symptoms increased, they began attending support groups and enjoyed meeting people who were facing some of the same challenges. The information they learned made the Parkinson’s journey easier.
For the last few years she has served as a facilitator for the Oceanside Support Group Care Partners. She likes to develop friendships so that other care partners don’t need to feel alone. Sandy is still learning. She watches informative Webinars on Parkinson’s and Care Giving. She has been part of the UCSD Care Partners Research Programs and has learned the importance of taking care of yourself and some special techniques.