Stephen, I spent 10 years launching and developing support materials for Sinemet CR, the first of the controlled-release Parkinson’s drugs. Along the way, I interviewed and filmed George Dingman, a man who was diagnosed in his early 30s. He was a gym/history teacher, and discovered his first noticable tremors holding his daughter during baptism. By the time we chatted, he was retiring from teaching at the age of 55. He continued volunteering at The Parkinson’s Foundation in Toronto where he mentioned one day that the foundation only had one computer for patients to come in and type letters. I went back to my advertising agency, told them the problem, and found out our computers were at the end of their lease. After a bit of negotiating, we got all the computers (18) for free, and set up a room at the foundation for typing letters and, in a few cases, writing books (including George). The film I did of him became standard viewing with doctors (George was an insightful guy and looked like Hemingway). So don’t give up too soon, my friend. I “dip my pen in acid” these days because I’ve seen a lot. Now I want people to laugh. Maybe it’s the dark humor of 40 years in advertising, but my many years of medical taught me it’s better to laugh. Always laugh, Stephen…builds energy…confuses the neighbours. All good things.

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I did a poor imitation of Don Draper for 40 years before writing my first novel. I'm currently in the final stages of a children's book. Lucky me.

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