GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Former Detroit Tigers player and Pontiac native Kirk Gibson spoke out about his battle with Parkinson’s Disease in Grand Rapids Tuesday.
Spectrum Health hosted a free community event called “Team Up to Beat Parkinson’s Disease” at DeVos Performance Hall downtown. Gibson served as the keynote speaker and used the platform to boost awareness about the disease.
He entertained the crowd with stories of his playing days and lessons he learned from managers like Sparky Anderson and Jim Leyland.
He also shared his battle plan for fighting Parkinson’s, saying he was relying on collaboration, cooperation and teamwork with physicians and caregivers.
Many in the audience raised their hands when he asked if anyone else was battling Parkinson’s.
“I have embraced the fact that I have Parkinson’s disease and I carry Parky around every single day, just like all of you do. It’s not like we woke up one day and it’s gone. You have to address it every single day. You have to embrace the challenge. You have to do it with passion. You have to do it with determination.”
He is treating this disease like he did the opposition on the field — he’s out to win.
“It’s just a grind and it’s like, I got it,” he said. “There’s no cure at this point. The treatments are getting better and better. There’s a lot that goes with it mentally. That’s life in itself. But I’ve been dealt a different set of cards that I’m playing nowadays.”
Gibson, 59, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s two years ago and is being treated by Spectrum’s Dr. Ashok Sriram.