GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – In Anderson, an 84-year-old man isn’t letting a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis hold him back.
Joe Evans has won over 180 trophies throughout his racing career, even some in NASCAR’s hobby division.
“When I joined the air force, that’s when I started racing,” Evans said. “I raced NASCAR out in California for 5 years.”
Two years ago, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and, believe it or not, still races in Anderson for the Carolina Vintage Racers and wins.
“I don’t have any problems with my reactions or nothing,” Evans said.
One of the most common symptoms of the disease is shaking, something that Evans battles, but he says it goes away when he’s doing what he loves.
“When you go to do something it tends to go away, but when you’re resting the tremor is there,” Evans’ Doctor Kathleen Woshkolup said.
While there is no known cure, Dr. Woschkolup said there are ways to manage symptom.
“Something that has been shown to decrease the progression of the disease is exercise. You don’t want to sit and rest. If you don’t use it, you lose it.”
She said patients like Evans are also able to reduce tremors by taking medication exactly as prescribed, down to the minute.
“What we can do is control what we call the motor symptoms very well. That’s done with multiple types of medication and everybody responds in different ways and needs different types,” Dr. Woschkolup said.
Although she wouldn’t recommend getting behind the wheel of a racecar to most people with Parkinson’s Disease, she says Evans is proof that you don’t have to let a disease define who you are.
According to the National Institute of Health, Parkinson’s Disease is most common in people aged 60 and up.
Some early signs include mild tremors, speaking softly, slow and cramped handwriting and a shorter stride.