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Put On Your Parky Face - Raising Parkinson Awareness

Published: 2010-12-01 - Updated: 2019-06-06
Author: Bill Schmalfeldt - Contact:
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Synopsis: Parkinsons disease victim seeks to raise disease awareness with new book with proceeds from put on your parky face to be donated to pd research charities. "This is all about my life as a guy with Parkinson's disease and the other stuff that annoys me," Schmalfeldt says. Contrary to public belief, Michael J. Fox is not the only person in America suffering from Parkinson's disease...

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Hearing Bill Schmalfeldt speak, one can sense a tinge of irritation in his voice. "Contrary to public belief, Michael J. Fox is not the only person in America suffering from Parkinson's disease," he said with a crooked smile.


The problem, as Schmalfeldt sees it, is that people will see Michael J. Fox in an interview and assume enough is being done to combat this progressive neurological disorder that affects an estimated 1.5 million Americans with 50-thousand new diagnoses each year. Having been diagnosed at age 45 in 2000, Schmalfeldt thinks more needs to be done to raise awareness about the disease and, as a result, give a financial spark to the ongoing search for a cure.

Schmalfeldt tells his story in his new book, "Put On Your Parky Face."

"This is all about my life as a guy with Parkinson's disease and the other stuff that annoys me," Schmalfeldt says.

The narrative begins in 1972 with Schmalfeldt working on a North Dakota farm for a grumpy owner with Parkinson's and his own hubris concerning the disease. He tells the story of how he first noticed symptoms in 1998 and the difficulty of getting a Parkinson's diagnosis at the age of 45. "One doctor told me I was too young to have Parkinson's," Schmalfeldt said. "I said, 'You would think so, but look at Michael J. Fox! He was diagnosed when he was 29!' The doctor frowned and said, 'Did hearing about Michael J. Fox make you think you had Parkinson's, too' He said it in that patient 'I'm talking to an idiot' tone of voice."

Diagnosed on Jan. 31, 2000 by one of the top movement disorder specialists in the country, Schmalfeldt's transformation began. He went from being a person who knew he had a disease, "but it was only a concept," to a person who began suffering worsening symptoms in 2006. He volunteered for experimental brain surgery in 2007. Now, he prepares to file the paperwork for disability retirement from the federal government. He tells his story with photos, a sharp wit, a great appreciation of irony, an ability to laugh at himself and - as mentioned earlier - just a hint of irritation.

"Put On Your Parky Face" is a call for people with Parkinson's, those who know or love someone with the disease, or those who may find themselves someday being one of the 50-thousand new PD diagnoses in a given year, to stop thinking of the disease as an affliction of the elderly.

"We need an awareness movement, like Breast Cancer Awareness Month," Schmalfeldt said. "There is a Parkinson's Awareness Month in April. We share it with African American Women's Fitness Month, Amateur Radio Month, Autism Awareness Month, Cancer Control Month, Child Abuse Prevention Month, Confederate History Month, Emotional Overeating Awareness Month, Global Child Nutrition Month, Fresh Florida Tomatoes Month, Irritable Bowel Syndrome Month, National Child Abuse Prevention Month, National Pecan Month, and National Straw Hat Month."

"Put On Your Parky Face" is available through Schmalfeldt's daily blog,

He has created a website for the book,, and the self-published book is available through as well as most major online booksellers.

The 314-page hardcover retails for $40. Schmalfeldt said 100 percent of author proceeds will be donated to the National Parkinson Foundation and the Charles Deep Brain Stimulation Research Fund at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.


This quality-reviewed article relating to our Disability Publications section was selected for publishing by the editors of Disabled World due to its likely interest to our disability community readers. Though the content may have been edited for style, clarity, or length, the article "Put On Your Parky Face - Raising Parkinson Awareness" was originally written by Bill Schmalfeldt, and published by on 2010-12-01 (Updated: 2019-06-06). Should you require further information or clarification, Bill Schmalfeldt can be contacted at Disabled World makes no warranties or representations in connection therewith.

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Cite This Page (APA): Bill Schmalfeldt. (2010, December 1). Put On Your Parky Face - Raising Parkinson Awareness. Disabled World. Retrieved September 26, 2023 from

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