Story by: Julie Kruer on June 20, 2022
Jason Smith always assumed the tremor in his right hand was caused by drinking a lot of coffee. Turns out, it actually was one of the first symptoms of young-onset Parkinson’s disease.
Jason was diagnosed with the progressive nervous system disorder eight years ago at age 40. Parkinson’s causes unintended or uncontrollable movements, such as shaking, as well as stiffness and difficulty with balance and coordination.
Jason said he felt shocked.
“People think it’s an older-generation issue,” he said. “I’m sitting there going, ‘I’m 40. This can’t be true.’”
After his diagnosis, Jason was connected with Parkinson Support Center of Kentuckiana, a Part of Norton Neuroscience Institute Resource Centers. Resources and services provided for patients like Jason are funded by community support through the Norton Healthcare Foundation.
Jason is the director of operations at Against the Grain Brewery in Louisville. When he learned about the center’s annual fundraising event, the Denim & Diamonds Gala Celebration, he knew he had to get involved. Since then, he has been using his 30 years of experience in the restaurant industry and vast network of chef friends to help produce the event and continue to raise awareness about Parkinson’s disease and funding for the center.
Through donations and volunteerism, the Norton Healthcare Foundation provides funding for support groups, exercise programs, equipment, new technologies, clinical research and health education for patients, families, medical staff and the community.
“It takes the support of everyone in the community for us to be able to be here for patients like Jason when they need us,” said Lynnie Meyer, R.N., Ed.D., CFRE, senior vice president and chief development officer, Norton Healthcare. “We are looking forward to a great evening of celebration, and are so grateful for all that Jason has done and is doing to support the work of the center.”
For Jason, the fellowship that happens at Demim & Diamonds is just as important as the fundraising.
“You almost forget about the disease for a day, have some fellowship and support those around you because everyone has to lean on one another,” he said. “We just need to celebrate and raise awareness and raise funds.”
Support Parkinson Support Center of Kentuckiana, a Part of Norton Neuroscience Institute Resource Centers, through the Norton Healthcare Foundation
Friday, July 29, 6 to 11 p.m.
Mellwood Art Center, 1860 Mellwood Ave., Louisville, Kentucky
Buy tickets, donate and bid in the silent auction.
Select an appointment date and time from available spots listed below.