The Fox Focus Fall/Winter 2017 - Page 21

Community “Once you take that first step, the rest of it comes easy.” Team Fox superstar Jimmy Choi has completed countless endurance athletic events and raised more than $100,000 to help drive Parkinson’s disease (PD) research. But it took Jimmy several years after his Parkinson’s diagnosis at 27 to come to terms with his disease and lace up for the first time. On July 3, he inspired audiences worldwide as he took on the obstacle course on NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior.” Jimmy publicly shared how his personal journey was filled with both hurdles and triumphs, and sparked a conversation about what it’s like to live — and tackle new challenges — with PD. See how our community has been inspired by Jimmy’s story. ROBERT “I have seen many of my Parkinson’s patients respond with regular exercise. This is so exciting to have you talk about this!” EMILY JOHN “I realized that my “When you see excuses for not Jimmy out there — pushing myself strong, healthy and were nothing determined, going compared to for it, competing — what PD patients you don’t see deal with daily. Parkinson’s, I decided to you see a man do something who’s beating that scares me... Parkinson’s!” attempt the Disney half marathon with Team Fox.” MEET JIMMY’S BIGGEST FAN: AKBAR GBAJABIAMILA Akbar Gbajabiamila — retired NFL player and host of “American Ninja Warrior” (ANW) — is a huge fan of Jimmy Choi. On ANW, Akbar’s job is to cheer on each contestant of the infamous obstacle course. But rooting for Jimmy took on a special meaning as Akbar’s father also lives with Parkinson’s. During a Facebook Live conversation, Akbar shared that Jimmy’s run has inspired him to deepen his involvement with the PD community. And it’s also motivated him to push himself further physically as an athlete: “What’s my excuse? I can’t have one.” 21 Fall/Winter 2017