About Scott Orr

Exhibit A: Me and an Emmy statuette
Exhibit A: Me and an Emmy statuette

I’m an award-winning journalist (Emmy, Associated Press, Arizona Newspapers Association) who is living with Parkinson’s disease. I was diagnosed 13 years ago, when I was 38 years old.

I first thought it was a death sentence, but, no. As a neurologist told me, “Parkinson’s won’t kill you, but it’ll make your life hell.” He was mostly right. Years ago, I had a Deep Brain Stimulator implanted in my brain (thank you, Medtronic) and it stopped the tremors in my arms and legs almost entirely, something that drugs simply could not do.

I worked in TV news at the time, and produced two shows about my two brain surgeries. There’s lots of video here.

The DBS worked great. and still does, but it can only stop tremors, and it does nothing for the other symptoms of PD. 

Nowadays, I find myself using a walker for balance (my balance is shot, and, after two injury falls in one year, I gave in). Worse, perhaps, is that my coordination has become bad enough that doctors don’t want me driving anymore. Those two factors, along with some intangibles, like fatigue, meant that in 2016, I finally had to admit that I could no longer do my full-time job as a newspaper reporter. I do still freelance from home, though, which is nice.

Obviously, some changes have come about as a result of the PD. I used to fly helicopters–even flew a bit for a TV station in Phoenix. That ended long ago–no one will fly with a pilot nicknamed “Shaky.” Until a year or two ago, I was tournament bass fishing. Now, I can’t really balance well enough in the rocking boat, so I’ve moved on from that.

I’m heavily involved with the anti-bullying nonprofit my wife founded, Rhonda’s STOP BULLYING Foundation.

And, despite my vocal quality, I am working on the podcast that shares its name with this page, ScottCenter. It’s actually a form of voice therapy, and I’m hoping that I’ll improve with practice. Rhonda does one, too – I produce it – and if you want to hear what a professional sounds like, check hers out.

I have lots more to say, but I’ll save that for the blog posts.

Thanks for stopping by.

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