Pattie Petty Reveals Parkinson’s Diagnosis

Pattie Petty, the wife of former NASCAR driver Kyle Petty, has revealed that she has Parkinson's disease. It was confirmed through a new test at the University of Kansas Hospital. Petty talked exclusively with FOX 4 medical reporter Meryl Lin McKean, and says Parkinson's won't stop her efforts to build a camp in Kansas City for kids with chronic illnesses. Petty is the sunny personality beside husband Kyle, and behind Victory Junction, a camp for sick kids. Petty noticed mood changes in recent years, and she linked them to the death of their son, Adam, in a crash 11 years ago.

"I just assumed the depression or the emotional mood swings were that I'd lost my son, my husband's job had changed, I see the children at camp and they're not healthy and I can't fix it," she said. Petty is now living and working in Kansas City to build a camp like North Carolina's Victory Junction near the Speedway. The down economy was making fundraising harder, and she thought maybe that was behind the depression, too. But she had another symptom — her hands shook. While having dinner with a doctor in Nashville 18 months ago, she asked if it could be Parkinson's Disease. "Because my hands are tremoring and he said, 'Oh, you have the disease,'" she said. It's the same disease her dad had. Petty began taking medicine to control Parkinson's symptoms, which include mood swings. She also began receiving care at the University of Kansas Hospital.

Just last week, Petty had a brand new test called DaTscan to confirm the diagnosis. It looks at function of the brain instead of anatomy by spotting changes in brain chemistry. Petty wants others to know she has Parkinson's, but she hasn't lost her wits. "It's always nice to get all the facts that my cognitive skills are there," she said. And her desire is there to keep working for the kids. "Nothing's gonna stop me. I think anytime God puts something on your heart, to do," Petty said. FOX 4 News

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