• Last modified 3263 days ago (Sept. 15, 2010)


Cycling helps man control Parkinson's symptoms

Staff writer

After being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease more than two years ago, Steve Quam of Anderson, S.C., discovered that exercise helped him limit his tremors.

Bicycling is one of his favorite exercises, so 64-year-old Quam decided he would ride across the U.S. to raise awareness of the disease. He began in Washington state and arrived Monday in Marion. He planned to finish his ride in South Carolina, probably mid-November.

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disease that impairs motor skills, speech, and other functions. No cure has been found in the 200 years since it was discovered, Quam said.

But treatment is available. Quam said he couldn’t make the ride if he weren’t taking medication to suppress his temors.

He is riding in support of the Davis Phinney Foundation For Parkinson’s. Phinney was a great cyclist in the 1980s who competed in the Olympics and Tour de France. Phinney was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at age 40 and started his foundation to research the disease and provide support for patients.

Quam said he admired Phinney long before he knew of their connection.

The message he wants to spread with his ride is that people with Parkinson’s disease don’t have to stop doing things.

“You may have limitations, but with adjustments you can still do things you enjoy,” Quam said.

He had ridden about 2,600 miles of the 4,000-mile trip when he arrived in Marion. He has ridden between 30 and 60 miles most days, but his longest ride was 79 miles. His route from Washington to Kansas wasn’t direct, he said.

“I took the scenic tour,” through parts of British Columbia and Yellowstone and Glacier national parks, he said.

He also stopped in Boulder, Colo., where he had dinner with Phinney. Quam said his favorite part of the trip has been meeting other Parkinson’s disease patients and discussing what works for them to control their symptoms.

He is looking forward to seeing relatives in Missouri and his son in Memphis, Tenn.

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Last modified Sept. 15, 2010