Defying Parkinson's: Craig Belesi
SARASOTA - Craig Belesi didn’t have a lot of free time, working 14-hour days as a New York construction executive.
"A lot of hours spent away from the family and stuff like that," Belesi said. He says it all started with a tremor, and then he noticed it in his voice.
“I had a loud voice that could boom across the room, and I remember being in a meeting one day, and I started talking and somebody said, 'Hey, Belesi, speak up; we can't hear you!'" Belesi said.
He went to a neurologist, who diagnosed him with Parkinson's disease.
"I started swallowing different, having trouble with words,” Belesi said.
His wife Susan says she was used to leaning on Craig, but the roles quickly reversed.
"I had to be the one that was stronger, and I didn’t realize how strong I could be," Susan said.
Their kids were just 12 and 15 at the time.
“I had to make sure they knew this is what life brings, and you're gonna fight for it, you’re gonna be happy, you’re gonna be strong, and we’re gonna do this as a family," Susan said.
In December 2015 Craig and Susan moved to Florida just for Parkinson Place. Susan loved it so much, that now she’s the first face you see when you walk in.
“He took the disease and made it the best he could, in a respectful, dignified way," Susan said.