Parkinson’s Disease is a brain disorder that causes uncontrollable movements such as shaking, stiffness, and difficulty with balance and coordination. With more than 10 million people impacted worldwide, it’s important to understand what Parkinson’s is and what warning signs to watch for in yourself or your loved ones. You can learn more in this blog.
We are honored to share the stories of two staff members whose families have intimately felt the impact of Parkinson’s Disease.
Robert Luther Redwine was born in Arizona 1940. A true cowboy, he rode in teen rodeos and broke horses. After graduating from Mesa High School in 1957, Robert joined the U.S. Army where he served as a Sharpshooter. Robert retired from a successful career in the military and began his own welding company outside of Dallas.
43 years ago in April, Robert put his sharpshooter skills to work when he won over Carolyn Sue Walker, who would go on to be his wife and the mother of four of his children, including Lecia Redwine.
Robert began getting sick and was officially diagnosed with Parkinson’s when Lecia was 3 years old. In the beginning, Lecia remembers her father losing his balance and shaking without understanding why. For Robert, his shaking only happened on the right side of the body.
As Robert’s illness progressed, it became harder for him to function and complete daily tasks without his dopamine medication in the mornings to help with the shaking and evening medication to help him relax. As Lecia and her sister Patricia got older, they took a key role alongside their mother caring for Robert.
“He had a wonderful old-school personality, and even when he was overtaken by dementia near the end, we would still spend time watching tv together,” said Lecia.
“It was hard seeing my father grow into a man who didn’t recognize me, but we never gave up on him. I just wish they had the medication and knowledge back then they have now and maybe he would have been around a little longer.”
Lecia went on to work with the Southwest Chapter of the Parkinson’s Foundation for a couple of years to help with fundraising and spreading the word about Parkinson’s.
At Science Care, Lecia serves as the HR Manager, and jack of all trades. She is able to assist with big and small things on behalf of the employees.
“The environment at Science Care really motivates me,” said Lecia. “I can’t think of a nicer or more appreciative team of people to work with and the impact the company has on scientific research is so rewarding.”
Barbara Kimzey was born in Phoenix, AZ and spent the majority of her life living there aside from a brief semester in a Hawaiian college.
Her high school years were filled with softball, and she went on to play on many adult leagues with her husband, Mark.
When her dexterity allowed, she was an avid seamstress. Many loved ones were the recipients of custom curtains or mouse hooded towels for the new babies. Barb is an avid reader, and long-time fan of Hallmark movies.
Barb and Mark were married in 1984 and grew their family with a daughter, Maegan, and a son, Dylan. Both of their children became first generation college graduates – Maegan with a degree from Grand Canyon University and a career as an RN, and Dylan with a degree from ASU and a career with Science Care. Barb’s family also includes her two grandsons and two grandpups.
Barbara is a constant and steady confidant for her children and a loyal, caring person. She’s had the same two best friends since elementary school who are still visiting constantly as Barbara’s mobility has decreased.
For their family, the constant up and down of battling a disease can take its toll. Barbara has had two separate deep brain stimulator surgeries for each side of her brain, and another surgery years later to switch the battery.
While each of the surgeries certainly created speed bumps in her journey, the battles were worthwhile to ensure Barbara is able to continue on for as long as possible. While there may be no cure for Parkinson’s, there are tools that can help tremendously in slowing the progression.
While Parkinson’s can come in all shapes and sizes, Dylan’s family encourages anyone else facing the disease to not let time slip away.
Even though Barbara cannot play with or take care of her grandchildren how she would have hoped, it’s a gift for them to have time with their “YaYa.”
Barbara is a registered body donor and hopes that this decision will make it a smoother situation when she passes.
Dylan serves as the Director of Quality Assurance with Science Care. In his role, he works to assist our team in honoring the intent of each and every donation.
His journey at Science Care began in the lab, but his current role involves ensuring Science Care is compliant in all areas while upholding the respect and dignity we have for every donor.
“It feels great to be a tool aiding in prolonging life,” Dylan said.
“I have been able to take care of countless loved ones that have passed to help facilitate them to the next stage on their path, whether that be to help surgeons train on procedures similar to the surgeries my mother has benefitted from or research to find new ways to combat illnesses that many of us have endured.”
It's an honor to feature members of our staff at Science Care that have been impacted by Parkinson’s in their families. Check out our other 2023 article to learn more about Parkinson’s disease and see how donors can help.