More Than Our Story

Dr. George Ackerman

Dr. George Ackerman advocates for increased awareness of Parkinson’s disease in memory of his late mother Sharon Ackerman, who passed from this terrible affliction. He was her caregiver and witnessed firsthand the horrific toll of this disease. He has since committed himself to educating people, and banding them together to find a cure.

Highlights

I decided to fight not just so she would be remembered, but for all the people still diagnosed, their family members, and the family members like myself, who are still here and still want our loved one to have a voice in this fight.

The biggest problem with Parkinson's disease is everybody's unfortunately so different.

Parkinson's is the fastest growing neurodegenerative disease in the world, and it really cripples individuals. My mother went from, being able to live independently, go shopping, drive a car, to those last four years. She went from walking 3 miles to only able to use a cane for two years, then from the cane to the walker, then the walker to the wheelchair, then the wheelchair to bed-bound.

Yeah, it was not easy. I didn't sign up for the caregiving... I just knew that my mother sacrificed a lot of her life. She was a school teacher, had a masters and gave it all up to take care of me and my brother. And I knew if she ever needed me... I knew I would have to sacrifice anything I could to help her.... I'm only the man I am today because of my mother's love and support.

One horrible thing is the cost for people.

I always dreamed she’d sit in the backyard because she loved to blow bubbles with her three grandkids and enjoy the lake. But she never unfortunately had that chance.

I mean, it's gotten bigger than even me. It's just me. I’m a son who lost his best friend and his mother due to the disease, and didn’t want her to be forgotten. None of it was expected. We were told by 7 or 8 doctors, even today people are told - you don't die from Parkinson's, you die with it.

We thought we would put up something quick in her memory, and few people would see it... Just a week ago, I checked, we have over 35,000 people have visited the website, and it's been reaching around the world.

My main mission and goal is really to tell people they’re never alone and that we send our love.

It still keeps me up at night. I just don't want to stop fighting until we find a cure.

My goal is her story is out there forever. We did copyright it and it’ll be in the Library of Congress and my dream is to take my my kids someday, and show them that their grandmother will live on forever.

I wanted to make something - The Together For Sharon band - in memory of my mother Sharon, and I gave a few out... Then something hit... “why don't I start wearing it?”... I’d show people that my mother's memory is still alive.

There’s a bill coming to the Senate - The National Plan to End Parkinson's Act - and hopefully it'll pass unanimously, it's bipartisan. So there shouldn't be any arguments - because the only goal is to end Parkinson's through advocacy.

COVID was terrible, but we had some type of way to fight it... I just think we would have already ended it (Parkinson's) if we had more individuals aware.

My main message to everyone listening: We love you. We support you. We care a lot about you. And you're never alone. We're a family in this fight.

Never stop and always keep fighting.

Together For Sharon

Dr. George Ackerman created togetherforsharon.com to raise awareness, and help band people together to find a cure for Parkinson’s disease.

A Son's Journey: 
From Parkinson's Disease Caretaker to Advocate

This book is, first, a memoir of and praise for my mother, Sharon Riff Ackerman, who was my best friend through both our lives until her untimely death. The book is a heartfelt and often heart-wrenching recollection of the beginnings of her Parkinson’s disease symptoms to the inevitable end. This book, too, is primarily for relatives and caregivers of those with Parkinson’s.

However, I also want to reach those who are not aware of Parkinson’s throughout the world. Until we ensure that others outside the local or regional Parkinson’s community are made aware, a cure will be further from our grasp. Others, too, may find the book helpful, especially for those suffering from associated diseases.

Picture of Daniel

Daniel

Daniel is an extremely curious person, a wealth of random knowledge and facts. Extremely passionate about a vast array of interests ranging from health to history, science to athletics, everything culinary and the list goes on. Trust us, you would want to be on his team for Trivial Pursuit. Daniel is also years into his battle with brain cancer. He experienced a seizure while on a Zoom call at work in late 2020 and quite literally, his life changed within minutes. After his operation he started to talk about his story but had always known it was more than just him. From then, More Than Our Story became a PROJECT that has evolved into the starting point it is today.

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