Parkinson’s won’t stop Fazio from running again
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.