Recipient

Laura M.

New Jersey, United States

Gold Star Wife Now Facing Parkinson's

My sister is the strongest woman I know... but life just keeps testing that strength. In 2005, she became a Gold star wife when she lost her best friend, Mike, a Navy Seal officer, in a helicopter crash. It was a devastating blow, and yet, she rose above the pain and in wanting to keep his memory alive for her 13 month old daughter, founded a scholarship fund. Over the years she organized various events, races, etc in his name, including a race that happens every year in his home town. As time passed, she found happiness again and met and married another true hero, Matt, a retired marine, F-18 pilot. Sadly, a few years ago, Matt was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and last summer he started suffering from late stage symptoms. As he is so young to have these symptoms, they are trying some aggressive approaches to improve them. For example, he had several brain surgeries this fall (while my sister was pregnant with their 3rd child) to install a device to help manage his dopamine levels. Again, my sister is a rock, she will tell you she's doing great, and feels so blessed for the life and family that she has. I know the days are rough though, especially now as a mother of 4, running the entire household, and trying to fit in exercise (which as a triathlete/marathon runner/etc working out has always been her sanity). As a Gold Star wife, now facing the challenges of her husband coping with late stage Parkinson's, I think she's the perfect candidate for a Comeback.

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