MIAMI – Brad McMorris said he saw the entire progression of Parkinson's disease, from symptoms that began as bad posture and constipation to immobilization, when his dad was sick.
McMorris started to experience symptoms himself while he was taking care of his dad. Everyday tasks like using a fork and brushing his teeth were becoming a challenge. About a month after his father died, McMorris was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson's disease, a neurodegenerative condition, at 38.
"Being diagnosed sucks, but it's not a death sentence," McMorris said.
McMorris was giving hope Sunday at Miami's Museum Park during Moving Day, the annual National Parkinson's Foundation event in Miami to raise awareness and funding for research.
The 41-year-old financial adviser manages more than 600 clients and hundreds of millions of dollars at Wells Fargo Advisors, and still makes time to contribute to the foundation.
According to the event's website Team Terranova led the way with nearly $34,000 in donations, and the Berkowitz Pollack Brant/Provenance Wealth Advisors team followed with about $15,000. The goal was to raise $300,000, and they raised about $256,000.
"What it's really about is raising awareness for Parkinson's ... and, most importantly, getting people with Parkinson's out and moving, because exercise is the most important thing beyond their medication," said John L. Lehr, the CEO of the foundation.
Lehr also said the foundation's goal is to support scientific research to understand how to prevent and treat the disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention complications from Parkinson's disease remain the 14th leading cause of death in the country.
They also aim to provide patients at every stage of the disease with the help they need to improve their quality of life.
During the event near the AmericanAirlines Arena, McMorris had some tips for newly diagnosed patients: "Learn how to deal with it, learn what works for you, stay active," he said, "and that's all we can do for now until we find a cure."
His active lifestyle includes Monday Madness, a free boot camp he co-founded with Bradley Murcia, a personal trainer. The Neuroscience Centers of Florida Foundation runs it from 7 to 8 p.m. at 1770 Brickell Ave.