Actor, advocate, author and podcast host Alan Alda has revealed that he is battling Parkinson’s disease — but in true Growing Bolder fashion, he’s not letting it stop him from pursuing his passions or living his dreams.
Funny enough, it’s actually a series of real dreams that led Alda to the doctor’s office, where a series of tests led to the diagnosis of PD, a degenerative disease that affects the central nervous system and generally leads to the breakdown of the body and the brain.
“I was having a dream that someone was attacking me and I threw a sack of potatoes at them. But what I was really doing was throwing a pillow at my wife,” the 82-year-old tells CBS News.
When the M*A*S*H star read an article about early signs of Parkinson’s — one of which is acting out dreams — he got tested.
Alda says that despite the fact that he may be facing a difficult future, he’s very much present in what he can do and be today, and isn’t letting PD make him angry.
“There are some common symptoms, but mostly everybody’s different and each day is different from the next. One day you wake up, you think, oh, it’s over, it’s gone. Next day it’s back a little worse. You don’t know what it’s going to be, but the main thing is, there’s stuff you can do and I’ve been — you know how I look at it? It’s like a puzzle to be solved. What do I have to adapt to to carry on a normal life? And I enjoy solving puzzles.”
Alda is already taking action to Move Forward. Give Back®. He has launched a podcast called Clear+Vivid, which expands on the work he does through the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science. The goal is to help scientists and entrepreneurs better connect with their audiences, and to explore all of the ways that people communicate with each other.
Before revealing his diagnosis, Alda spoke with Growing Bolder Radio about his legendary career, as well as his goals for the Alan Alda Center:
And he says that going public is part of his work to combat fear and inspire hope.
I decided to let people know I have Parkinson’s to encourage others to take action. I was Diagnosed 3 and a half years ago, but my life is full. I act, I give talks, I do my podcast, which I love. If you get a diagnosis, keep moving!
— Alan Alda (@alanalda) July 31, 2018
There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, but there are treatment options to help patients manage their symptoms. John Gabriel, a former NBA Executive of the Year and winner of a Growing Bolder Award, is optimistic about his own future, and the future of evolving treatments and research for PD.