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"I Don't Want To Go Down Without A Fight..."

By: Malorie Maddox, Jeff Olson, Christian Champoux Email
By: Malorie Maddox, Jeff Olson, Christian Champoux Email

An Omaha man will undergo an aggressive surgery to treat his Parkinson's disease.

"I was about 55, 57, I started a little trembling, it slowly progresses and sneaks up on you." Terry Tonkin first learned he had Parkinson's Disease in 2000. "I kind of ignored it for a couple of years, but then I knew I had to find out what we're dealing with and get after it."

His wife Judy says the tremors were mild in the beginning. "Then all of a sudden, whoa, it has progressed."

Terry has a lot to fight for. He has 10 grandchildren. He loves cheering on the Detroit Tigers and going to Creighton basketball games. Recently, he and Judy were eating lunch and ran into some Creighton players. The team stopped to take a picture with one of their biggest fans. It's moments like these Terry doesn't want to miss. "I don't want to go down without a fight."

Terry will undergo Deep Brain Stimulation at the University of Nebraska Medical Center Thursday morning. "We're all nervous, but we're all hopeful," says Judy.

Dr. Daniel Murman, a neurologist, explains how the surgery works. "They drill a hole in the skull on both sides and lower a wire deep in the brain." The wire then connects to a device that looks like a pacemaker underneath the clavicle. The patient is awake during the entire procedure.

"I'm hearing a lot of good results and the odds are in my favor," says Terry. And through it all, his family and wife of almost 50 years will be cheering him on. "I'm always telling him you better be nice to me, I"m your caregiver," says Judy.

"It is true though," says Terry.

The University of Nebraska Medical Center is holding a Skate-A-Thon to raise money for Parkinson's research. Skaters will circle the ice for 24 consecutive hours. It begins Friday at 5 p.m. and runs through Saturday. The previous two Skate-A-Thons raised more than $91,000.


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