An interview with Basketball Coach Gary Keating from Caring For Caregivers, July 18, 2023 by George Ackerman, Ph.D, J.D.
Assistant College Basketball Coach stepped away to help take care of my father who had Parkinson’s. Helped be a caregiver for him during his journey. After being diagnosed following my dad’s passing, have become an author with an upcoming book and hopefully more from that branching out.
Author of the following books:
Carry On 2023
One Lasting Tribute 2022
Being A Champion 2021
Game On 2019
Father and Son 2018
Please tell me a little about your background and what got you involved with awareness.
I grew up around basketball. My father was a coach. I also played throughout high school. I was very close with my father. I graduated from Saint Johns, then coached Junior college. I had to step away from coaching because my father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. I helped my mom be his caregiver. He had it for 14 years. After he passed, I was also diagnosed with Young Onset. Today, I am 14 years in since diagnosed.
Can you tell me more about Caring For Caregivers?
Caring For Caregivers is a group I started here locally at my church to help those who are in a similar situation. Give them a place to talk with others who understand. Have a place to breathe.
What is your passion and how did you get involved in Parkinson’s awareness and hope for a cure?
Passion: helping others who are going through this disease, especially young onset. There is so much that can happen, knowing that myself in being pushed out of a job because of being diagnosed and having to fight in court for ADA rights.
Have also been involved in Parkinson’s research studies Florida Gator Magazine Spring 1999 Issue.
What type of goals do individuals with Parkinson’s have when working with you?
Caring For Caregivers is an informal place to go where individuals can talk to others for support. Many tell me they are thankful because they can be around people going through the same things and know there are individuals who support them and turn to.
What effect can your advocacy have on an individual with Parkinson’s?
With Caring For Caregivers everyone helps each other. Emotionally it helps people. I see a difference in individuals when they started (they were silent), until months later when they formed friendships and are more open and relaxed. They look forward to the meetings.
What would you like to see as a future goal for your programs?
Having been on both sides of Parkinson’s, being a caregiver, now a patient myself all the things have been through. The most important is to keep a positive mindset and continue going forward. Never giving up on yourself and your dreams, just because having a disease doesn’t stop you from doing what you want.
I want to inspire others and ensure they know others are out there to support them,
What events do you participate in?
That is hopefully down the road. May be working on putting together a professional group to help with book and get our story out further.
How does this also assist the caregivers?
With the caregivers we work with all types of situations. That has included getting them the help they need in the house to make things safer for the one they are caring for.
How can someone get in touch? What is your website?
If you had one final statement or quote you could leave for the Parkinson community, what would it be?
Parkinson’s is what I have. It’s not who I am.