Parkin­son’s won’t stop Fazio from run­ning again

Windsor Star - - CITY+REGION - TAY­LOR CAMP­BELL tcamp­bell@post­media.com

Parkin­son’s dis­ease won’t stop Lakeshore Deputy Mayor Al Fazio from seek­ing re-elec­tion this fall. Fazio an­nounced his po­lit­i­cal in­ten­tions at a fundraiser he hosted for the Parkin­son So­ci­ety South­west­ern On­tario at his res­tau­rant, Mr. Biggs, in Belle River on Thurs­day. He also spoke pub­licly about his di­ag­no­sis. Parkin­son’s dis­ease is a chronic, de­gen­er­a­tive neu­ro­log­i­cal dis­or­der. Be­fore his di­ag­no­sis late in 2016, Fazio said he’d no­ticed a slight shaking in his right hand. “My writ­ing is usu­ally large print, but it be­came small,” said Fazio, 59. He also no­ticed he’d be­gun to walk like his fa­ther who, at age 87, has had Parkin­son’s for al­most 30 years. Fazio’s doctor sent him to a neu­rol­o­gist, who gave him a list of 12 Parkin­son’s symp­toms. Fazio had eight of them.

“I an­nounced it to coun­cil right off the bat,” he said. His con­di­tion was never a se­cret.

Fazio said when he was di­ag­nosed, his wife cried while he burst out laugh­ing.

“It could have been so much worse,” he said. In his speech Thurs­day, he ad­mit­ted he strug­gled emo­tion­ally be­fore the di­ag­no­sis, and was “afraid of fac­ing the un­known.”

Al­though the dis­ease has al­tered the way he walks, and his hand some­times trem­bles, Fazio said he feels fine. Fazio said his doctor re­as­sured him he was more than healthy enough to serve in of­fice for an­other term, stat­ing his symp­toms are not likely to change much over the next 20 years.

“It’s not like we’re dy­ing,” said Fazio. “You have to have a pos­i­tive out­look and go for­ward.” Now, Fazio said he feels hon­oured to be a poster child for the Parkin­son So­ci­ety South­west­ern On­tario, lead­ing crowds at fundraiser walks in the area. The next one is the Walk-It for Parkin­son’s event Sept. 9 at Malden Park in Wind­sor. If re-elected, Fazio said he plans to ex­pand Lakeshore’s At­las Tune Cen­tre to in­cor­po­rate a move­ment, well­ness and so­cial cen­tre for se­niors and those with mo­bil­ity is­sues. He said he had the idea be­fore his di­ag­no­sis, since the town cur­rently lacks a recre­ational fa­cil­ity tai­lored to its ag­ing pop­u­la­tion. Fazio has served on coun­cil for 21 years. The mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion will be held Oct. 22.

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