ESPN Founder Bill Rasmussen
In this episode of When Life Gives You Parkinson’s, I interviewed the founder of ESPN, Bill Rasmussen, who publicly announced his Parkinson’s in 2019. Bill was diagnosed six years ago, he is still active and still travels around the country giving talks to students and business leaders. At first, he says, he tried to hide his symptoms during his speeches.
“My left hand is the one that has the biggest twitch, so to speak. I thought I’d keep it behind the podium or this or that, and after one event, they sent me a tape and I looked and that wasn’t very effective. And so at that point, I said, “You know what? This is a fact of life. It’s not anything to be embarrassed about. People catch cold, people break their leg, people knock their head up against a wall or whatever. And that’s okay so why isn’t Parkinson’s okay?”
The 87-year old takes medication each day, strives to keep operating at the same level as before his Parkinson’s diagnosis, and still wakes up each morning with a positive thought. As you might expect from the founder of ESPN, he has an analogy in regards to PD. He says,”The researchers are like the official scorekeepers up in the booth, but we are the players on the field. We’re walking through it every day. They can study my brain, but I have to use my brain. And they can study your brain, but you have to use your brain to get through each day. And those are the things that I think if we can convince people when you hear the word Parkinson’s, you don’t stop thinking, you don’t stop living or any of those things. You adjust and keep on keeping on, as they say.”
My interview with Bill Rasmussen is featured as part of limited series of podcasts produced by the Michael J Fox Foundation, co-hosted by Rachel Dolhun, and me. All the episodes can be found online at The Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research website.
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