HAMILTON COUNTY, Ind. - One Hamilton County family is sharing their personal battle with Parkinson's disease in hopes of educating and encouraging others who may face the same struggle.
In honor of Parkinson's Awareness Month, Larry and Carol DeBoy spoke with RTV6 reporter Tanya Spencer on how they deal with the debilitating diagnosis.
Larry DeBoy worked as an engineer with Eli Lilly for 35 and had planned to spend his retirement golfing, but now he has trouble writing and speaking.
His wife Carol said he was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2003 after attending a family gathering.
"After we returned home, his sisters called and wanted to know what was wrong with Larry. And I said, 'Well, gee, I don't know, what is wrong with Larry?' And they said he was so slow, he had trouble, he couldn't rake, he sat down and he couldn't get up. I had not noticed these things," she said.
Although they've known each other since childhood and have been married for 48 years, Carol said she didn't notice the subtle, gradual symptoms.
"Once I looked up the symptoms, then I saw that I had missed (them)," she said.
Each year, 50,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson's, a disease with no cure that robs people of the use of their own muscles.
After his condition quickly worsened, Larry - always a fighter - decided to have a brain surgery in 2012.
But he developed a severe, deep brain infection.
"We were told he had little chance to survive. He was paralyzed on the right side. He was in a coma-like state," she said. "He really went back to zero and we started all over with life."
Therapy after therapy didn't help until just over a year ago The DeBoys found 'The Climb' in Noblesville.
"Larry had a great deal of trouble walking in the front door with a walker and assistance. And a year later, he does walk on his own some now. He's progressed physically to the point of being able to box again," she said.
Larry spends 6 hours a week at The Climb. Carol calls his improvement physically and mentally amazing.
The Climb was started in 2009 at a local church through the Indiana Parkinson's Foundation and now has four other locations in Indiana.