Defying Parkinson's: Grace Schwefinghaus
SARASOTA - Grace Schwefinghaus says from day one, she knew there was something special about her brother, Brian.
“When my mother put him down on the bassinet, I said, 'He’s adorable; he’s mine.'" Schwefinghaus said. "Always felt that way, and we’ve always been close.”
She didn’t know it then, but her baby brother would one day take care of her.
“I didn’t have any symptoms. The doctor told me she noticed the way I turned around and the way I dragged one of my feet, that was a sign of it coming," Schwefinghaus said.
Her doctor sent her for a MRI and diagnosed her with Parkinson’s disease.
"I thought they were crazy because I said, 'No, no way do I have it,'" Schwefinghaus said.
She didn’t realize how much she needed someone to help her on this journey. Her husband passed away 13 years ago. Grace's Brother, Brian McBride moved to Florida from Connecticut just to care for his sister.
“I have no idea what i’m doing, but it was sensed to be the right thing to do, so I moved here in October," McBride said. "It's because of my mother. She was a role model, well done as opposed to well said. I don’t claim a lot of responsibility for this; I don’t consider myself anything special.”
He may not give himself a lot of credit, but Grace does.
“He does everything: cooks, does the whole show. I'm very thankful," Schwefinghaus said.
“Grace never complains," McBride said.
“I just freeze a little bit, and I just have to take little steps, which is minor compared to how people are affected," Schwefinghaus said.
She says it's been a slow progression since she was diagnosed four years ago.
“Thank G-d," she said.
She thinks that is due, in part, to her brother.
“He's just wonderful. I love to death," Schwefinghaus said.