An interview with William Thompson from Task Force Neuro held October 10, 2023 by George Ackerman, Ph.D, J.D.
Bill is a retired Business Manager with Stage 5 Parkinson’s Disease. Diagnosed in 2015 after suffering from unexplained symptoms for nearly 30 years, he (along with his Movement Disorder Specialist), were able to determine that he had Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease going back to the early 1990’s.
Bill lives in New Bern, NC with his wife and caregiver Thelma.
Please tell me a little about your background and what got you involved in awareness.
I began speaking to small groups about his medical journey (also a two-time cancer survivor) and telling people how to stay positive in the face of a serious medical diagnosis.
His involvement in advocacy involves speaking engagements, clinical and genetic testing and working to promote legislative change. Earlier this year, I was invited to speak with Representatives in front of the US Congress and tell my story.
Can you tell me more about your organization?
Our latest project is called “Task Force Neuro”, designed to help people who suffer from any of the 85 classified neurological disorders and is designed to help with care, therapy, education, nd funding for any of the 85 classified neurological disorders.
What is your passion and how did you get involved in Parkinson’s awareness and hope for a cure?
I love speaking to people about my medical journey and trying to always stay positive. Helping new patients has become my passion and I enjoy seeing people come out of their shell and start smiling again.
What type of goals do individuals with Parkinson’s have when working with you?
With Parkinson’s, the people I work with shoot for delaying the progression of the disease and making sur that they know where to go to get the support and help that they need.
What effect can it have on an individual with Parkinson’s?
From what I have witnessed, patients have been able to move better, more freely and become more independent in their own care.
What would you like to see as a future goal for your program?
In our new program, the goal is to see people with lesser-known neurological diseases have access to the same kinds of care that Parkinson’s patients have. There is a critical need for care and qualified therapists to help people with Huntington’s Disease, Alzheimer’s, and all of the other disorders that people can suffer from.
What evets do you participate in?
Since our project is just getting started, we have had a fundraiser and recently had a Paddle Battle, which is a series of Paddle Board races with adaptive kayaking events. We hope to have this event every year.
How does this also assist the caregivers?
The biggest asset to the caregivers is knowing that help is available and that there are many people that they can talk to.
How can someone get in touch? What is your website?
People can reach us on our website: www.taskforceneuro.org.
There are places on the site that allow you to make donations, volunteer or just follow our progress.
If you had one final statement or quote you could leave for the Parkinson’s community, what would it be?
Think positive, be positive and stay positive; and never be afraid to ask for help.