Parkinson's disease is a long-term degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that slowly manifests in a breakdown of the motor system.
Upon diagnosis, patients may experience shaking, rigidity, slow movement, and difficulty walking.
Which makes it all the more impressive that Jimmy Choi — a 41-year-old tech consultant from Illinois who was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson's disease at 27 — competed in one of the most gruelling obstacle course competitions on television: American Ninja Warrior 2017.
Competing on behalf of The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's research, Choi said he was in the prime of his life when he received his diagnosis.
"There was a lot of anger and depression," he revealed in his competition video. "Things that everybody can do on a daily basis, I have trouble with."
Choi went on to reveal that fitness helps him overcome the disease. Since embracing fitness in 2012, Choi has competed in 13 marathons, 76 half-marathons, numerous 100-mile bike rides, and triathlons, all while raising more than $100,000 for The Michael J. Fox Foundation.
According to the National Parkinson Foundation, exercise is not only beneficial for people living with Parkinson's, it is vital.
In fact, researchers note Parkinson's patients who increase their exercise to 2.5 hours a week slow down the decline in quality of life compared to patients who do not exercise.
As if making it to the qualifiers wasn't inspirational enough, Choi told the audience before competing, "The hardest step is that first step. Once you take that first step, the rest of it comes easy."
Though he did not complete the course, there's no denying Choi is a champion.
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