Martinez resident Jim Herzberg is one of the 1.5 million Americans who have been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.
The disease is a chronic, progressive motor system disorder characterized by tremors, stiffness, slow movement and impaired balance and coordination.
Though he was diagnosed six years ago, Herzberg, now 52, says he's probably had the disease for at least 15 years.
"I haven't cried a tear. It's been something I've accepted. I live with it, but it's been tough at times," he said.
Now, Herzberg and his family are doing their part to raise the profile of the incurable condition. They will participate Saturday in Team Up to Track Down a Cure, a walk to raise money for Parkinson's disease research.
The event will begin at 10 a.m. at the Family Y Wilson Branch, 3570 Wheeler Road, Augusta.
Herzberg takes three medications three times a day. He said his symptoms, which include tremors in his left arm and a shuffling gait when he walks, worsen when his medications start to wear off.
Herzberg oversees 21 stores as a district manager for the Kroger Co. He said he feels fortunate to have been able to continue to work.
"There's still a lot of awareness that needs to come out about Parkinson's disease," he said.
And with the help of his employer, he already is off to a strong start in his fundraising efforts.
Regional Kroger stores raised $2,000 this year by selling paper tulips, an international symbol of Parkinson's disease.
The company donated an additional $5,000 to the campaign.
Herzberg and his wife, Becky, also started a support group for people who have early-onset Parkinson's and their caregivers.
"When I first found out I had it, I tried to hide it," he said.
However, he said he realized that his anxiety level went down when he let people know about his condition.
Herzberg said he tries to maintain a positive attitude.
"I guess there's always anxiety about what the future brings, but I just don't worry about it. I do everything I did before," he said.
He said he remains acutely aware of one aspect of the disease.
"Anybody can get it. Anybody," he said.
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