Kansas City, MO – Pattie Petty, philanthropist and wife of retired NASCAR driver and television analyst Kyle Petty announced Tuesday she has been diagnosed with and is receiving treatment for Parkinson’s Disease.
Petty, 60, suspected she had Parkinson’s in early 2010 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, TN, 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 in Randleman, NC, a camp for chronically ill children started by Petty and her husband in honor of their oldest son Adam who died in a NASCAR practice session in 2000.
“When I was introduced to the medical staff at University of Kansas Hospital,” Petty continued, “I knew immediately Victory Junction Midwest was not the only reason I was meant to be in Kansas City.”
Pattie Petty is the tenth person at The University of Kansas Hospital to undergo a breakthrough test to diagnose Parkinson’s disease and other tremors. 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.
“The test is helpful to distinguish tremors that a patient might have from various other neurological conditions,” said Reginald Dusing, MD, radiologist in nuclear medicine. “Knowing the precise diagnosis allows the physician to pick the right medicines to help patients like Pattie control her symptoms and allow her to lead a more active life.”
The test confirmed Monday that Pattie has Parkinson ’s disease.
“Making the diagnosis is key,” said Dr. Dusing. “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,” explained 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. 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 Petty, 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.”
About University of Kansas Hospital
The University of Kansas Hospital is the region’s premier academic medical center, providing a full range of care. The hospital is affiliated with the University Of Kansas Schools of Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health, and their various leading edge research projects. The constantly growing facility contains 583 staffed beds and serves more than 26,000 inpatients annually. The University of Kansas Hospital’s comprehensive heart program is ranked 39th in the nation by U.S. News & World Report and is housed in the state of the art Center for Advanced Heart Care. Other U.S. News & World Report nationally ranked programs include Pulmonology, Ear Nose & Throat, Gastroenterology, Nephrology (kidney) and Cancer. The cancer program is part of The University of Kansas Cancer Center, based in the region’s largest outpatient cancer facility, the Richard and Annette Bloch Cancer Care Pavilion, located in Westwood, Kansas, 1 ½ miles from the main hospital. The hospital has received Magnet nursing designation, reflecting the quality of care throughout the hospital, an honor awarded to only 3.5 percent of the hospitals nationwide. The hospital also houses the region’s only burn center and the area’s only nationally accredited Level I Trauma Center. For more information, visit www.kumed.com.
About Victory Junction
Victory Junction is a year-round camping environment for children, ages six to 16, with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses. Founded by Kyle and Pattie Petty in honor of their son Adam, the camp is located in Randleman, NC with a second location opening soon in Kansas City, KS. Victory Junction offers programs for 24 disease groups and maintains strong relationships with over 30 partner hospitals. Victory Junction’s mission is to provide life-changing camping experiences that are exciting, fun and empowering, in a safe and medically-sound environment. As a not-for-profit organization, the camp operates solely through the support of generous donors to provide this experience at no charge to children and their families. For more information, visit www.victoryjunction.org.