The daughter in law of the man known as the King of NASCAR has been diagnosed with and is receiving treatment for Parkinson’s disease.
Pattie Petty wife of retired NASCAR driver and television analyst Kyle Petty, son of Richard Petty made the announcement Tuesday.
With 200 wins Richard Petty in known as NASCAR’s King. Pattie, 60 and Kyle lost their son Adam to a racing incident in 2000. Out of that tragedy they founded Victory Junction in Randleman, North Carolina, a camp for chronically ill children.
Petty said she suspected she had the disease last year when she began experiencing resting tremors and aching muscles – two symptoms her father suffered in the early stages of his 15 year battle with the disease. A doctor in Nashville, Tennessee, confirmed her concerns giving her an initial diagnosis based on her distinctive outward symptoms and started her on anti-Parkinson’s drugs last summer.
“After watching my father live with Parkinson’s, it was not a surprise when I was told that I may be suffering from this disease as well,” explained Petty. “I followed my doctor’s advice and began a series of medications, so that I could continue my plan of working a couple of weeks a month in Kansas City laying the ground work to open Victory Junction Midwest.”
Victory Junction Midwest is slated be the sister camp to Victory Junction.
Petty underwent a breakthrough test to diagnose Parkinson’s disease and other tremors at the University of Kansas Hospital. The FDA earlier this year approved DaTscan, a test that uses a radioactive imaging drug injected into the bloodstream for the purposes of detecting dopamine transporters (DaT) in the brain. The University Of Kansas Hospital is the first in the region to offer DaTscan. Petty is the tenth person to undergo the test.
“Making the diagnosis is key,” said Reginald Dusing, MD, radiologist in nuclear medicine. “There are effective medicines to treat Parkinson’s disease, but they can have a powerful physiological effect on your body if you don’t need them. If you need them they’re wonderful, but they have to be carefully regulated which is why this test is considered a breakthrough diagnostic tool.”
“Even after receiving the unfortunate results from DaTscan, I feel relief,”said Petty. “I am relieved that my family and I are confident in my diagnosis and can focus on the work we have ahead of us to live with Parkinson’s disease. Kyle and I have already been blessed by the outpouring support to bring Victory Junction Midwest to Greater Kansas City and we feel doubly blessed that we have a strong and dedicated group of professionals at University of Kansas Hospital providing us with the latest medical technology and assisting us with this disease.
“This ‘official’ diagnosis does not change our efforts in Kansas City,” she added. “My hands may not be still, and I might move a bit slower right now, but we are moving full-steam ahead to change the lives of chronically ill children in the Midwest.”
“Pattie’s dedication to Victory Junction Midwest is firm,” said Kyle her husband of 33 years. “Staying active is an important part of managing Parkinson’s and that will not be hard for my wife. Pattie will not let Parkinson’s regulate her life. She will continue her initiative to expand Victory Junction, while our kids and I will support her and help her cope with this disease.”
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