In 2007, a colleague asked why Kuntz was holding one arm up to his chest, something Kuntz had not noticed. “After about a year of going through all the tests and processes you’d expect anybody to go through, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in February 2009,” he said. His stepdaughter P.J. and her husband had gone to the University of Kentucky and knew of Parkinson’s expert John Slevin, MD, medical director of the UK HealthCare Movement Disorders program.
“Doug has a very healthy attitude about his disease,” Slevin said. “He realizes it’s progressive. He’s taking it on and making a difference in the Parkinson’s community.” For Kuntz, the three-hour drive between Richmond, Ind., and Lexington is worth receiving personalized care from Slevin and the clinic staff at KNI.
Facing Parkinson’s, Kuntz quickly grasped the big-picture importance of research. Kuntz – often referred to by his nickname, Pro – channeled his energy, magnetic personality and extensive list of contacts into the Pro’s Players Fore Parkinson’s golf tournament.
“The money from his golf tournament is directly supporting the research we do here,” said Slevin.
In addition to research at KNI, tournament proceeds also support Rock Steady Boxing, a rehabilitating workout program Kuntz helped bring to the Reid Hospital in Richmond. The noncontact, boxing-inspired workout employs speed bags, heavy bags, volleyball, hockey and other methods to increase mobility and independence. Kuntz holds the program in high regard for the physically intensive exercise he gets three times weekly and for the psychological momentum it affords dozens of participants.
“Because of the tournament and the funds it raises, I’ve had people come up to me and say, ‘Pro, I can tie shoes now, whereas I couldn’t before Rock Steady Boxing.’”
More than 10 years post-diagnosis, Kuntz is still showing up – on the green and for life. Kuntz feels best when he’s out on the course, medications at full effect, body in fighting form. “It still amazes me,” he said. “I get on the course and get in the zone. All of a sudden it’s like I don’t have Parkinson’s.”
Through private support, the UK Kentucky Neuroscience Institute can fully realize its potential as a state-of-the-art, comprehensive academic center. Philanthropy enables our physicians, nurses and researchers to do what they do even better – make a difference in the care of not only Kentuckians but in individuals around the world.
If you are interested in helping make an impact in the lives of those affected by neurological disease or trauma, contact:
UK HealthCare Office of Philanthropy
300 West Vine St., Suite 601
Lexington KY 40507