Mike Justak from PD Shimmers

An interview with Mike Justak from PD Shimmers & the Mike Justak Foundation For Parkinson’s Disease on November 2, 2023 by George Ackerman, Ph.D, J.D.



Mike Justak, an inspiring public figure. Despite retiring on disability, he founded the Mike Justak Foundation for Parkinson’s Disease and has served as its President and Executive Director. With unwavering resilience, Mike draws strength from his 40-year marriage, four children, and five grandchildren.


He showcases his creativity through PD Shimmers, an enchanting holiday light show synchronized to music, earning the prestigious “Best in Twin Cities” title for multiple years.


Recognized with the Paul M Silverstein Award, Mike’s remarkable dedication to the Greater Midwest Parkinson’s Community continues to inspire countless others.


Please tell me a little about your background.


My career was based in the self-storage industry. My role prior to disability was Director of Asset Management for Orlando based Simply Self Storage. Diagnosed with Parkinson’s 2004. Started a nonprofit 2007.

Can you tell me more about your organization?


My mission is to help others live better lives while raising awareness of PD. In 2011 I found my niche and created a synchronized music and light show called PD Shimmers. During its 12 year my Parkinson’s story was reported by, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Sigma Nu Delta, Plymouth Magazine, WCCO-TV10PM Newscast, WCCO TV Mornings, KSTP tv newscasts, KSTP TV live cut ins, KARE11 TV “Land of 10,000 Stories”, FOX9 News, Bring Me the News, as well as internet coverage by above.


Developing a passion for something can be a powerful tool in dealing with Parkinson’s disease. Here are some ways in which developing a passion can be beneficial:


  1. Motivation and Purpose: Having a passion gives individuals with Parkinson’s disease something to look forward to and strive for. It provides them with a sense of motivation and purpose in life, which can be particularly important when dealing with the challenges and uncertainties that Parkinson’s can bring.


  1. Emotional Well-being: Engaging in activities that one is passionate about can have a positive impact on emotional well-being. Pursuing a passion can bring joy, fulfillment, and a sense of accomplishment, which in turn can help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety that are often associated with Parkinson’s.


  1. Distraction from Symptoms: Immersion in a passionate activity can provide a distraction from the physical symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, such as tremors or rigidity. When individuals are deeply engaged in something they love, they may experience a temporary reduction in symptom severity or even find that the symptoms are momentarily forgotten.


  1. Stress Reduction: Pursuing a passion can serve as a stress-relieving outlet. Engaging in activities that one is passionate about can help reduce stress levels, which is important as stress can exacerbate Parkinson’s symptoms. Lowering stress levels can have a positive impact on overall well-being and may even contribute to better symptom management.


  1. Social Engagement: Developing a passion often involves interacting with others who share similar interests. This can lead to increased social engagement and the formation of new friendships and support networks. Social interaction plays a vital role in maintaining mental and emotional health, which can be particularly beneficial for individuals with Parkinson’s.


While developing a passion can have significant positive effects, it is important to remember that Parkinson’s disease is a complex condition that may require a multidisciplinary approach to management. Medication, therapy, and other interventions should not be overlooked. It is always advisable to consult with healthcare professionals who specialize in Parkinson’s care for personalized advice and guidance.

What is your passion and how did you get involved in Parkinson’s awareness and hope for a cure?


My lightshow became my passion. I expanded it over the years. For several years it covered 8 homes featuring 58,000 lights, one for every American newly diagnosed that year.


What type of goals do individuals with Parkinson’s have when working with you?


I no longer have programs that participate In but rather offer funding to help others.


How can someone get in touch?  What is your website?


Email sent to


How can others also become advocates for awareness?


I have written a memoir in which I cover most the questions asked here. It is called Puck Farkinson’s A Parkinson’s Memoir. It is currently carried for home delivery by Amazon and Barnes and Noble.




If you had one final statement or quote you could leave for the Parkinson’s community, what would it be?


Always have Hope.