The Aronson Chair for Neurodegenerative Disorders
When I look at my husband, Jim, I still see the man I married 45 years ago, the chemist who graduated from MIT with a brilliant research and teaching career ahead of him. The man who was the Chair of the Chemistry Department at the University of Rhode Island for 10 years and a tenured professor for a total of 35. I still see the loving father and grandfather, who could become completely engrossed in a news story or a science fiction book and always had time for his family, students and friends.
Unfortunately, Jim's amazing career trajectory and our active lives took a sudden turn when at 56 – fourteen years ago – he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. Neither of us wanted to believe this news, especially Jim. I knew the only way we could tackle this head on, was to find a physician who would treat Jim locally, in Rhode Island, rather than Massachusetts or Connecticut. My research of the disease and the top physicians in the region led us to Dr. Joseph Friedman.
When we started working with Dr. Friedman, we expected to receive the highest level of care and the most advanced treatment options. What completely surprised us – and I think has been the key to Jim's care and my piece of mind – is how Dr. Friedman has provided his care. Dr. Friedman has connected with Jim as a fellow scientist. He speaks to him as the brilliant man that he is, not what the disease has made him. And Dr. Friedman works with me as a partner in Jim's care. Being his caregiver, I can sense changes in Jim's symptoms and behavior, and I often bring up treatment options for Jim. Dr. Friedman always welcomes and considers my input.
Thanks to Dr. Friedman's care, Jim has remained more active than we ever imagined. He retired just five years ago from URI, proud to have supported a generation of chemists. He loves to spend time with his five grandchildren and our five-month old great grandchild. He has significantly deteriorated, as we knew would happen, but we feel prepared and supported in each step, through every good day as well as the challenges and setbacks.
We were thrilled to hear about The Aronson Chair for Neurodegenerative Disorders, knowing what this endowment would mean for the future of the Movement Disorders Program at Butler Hospital and the treatment of future patients. We need to keep physicians like Dr. Friedman here in Rhode Island and give them the best resources to treat every patient. Dr. Friedman is a physician like no other, providing the highest level of clinical care and research, all delivered with the upmost respect for each patient. He – and his patients – deserve the best resources and our support.