Help for Cheryl

Cheryl was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2014.  Parkinson’s is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movements and symptoms include tremors and stiffness.  These symptoms start slow, but can rapidly progress when aggravated. Cheryl’s tremors were controlled with medication until the deadly Camp Fire on November 8, 2018, which many of you know destroyed almost the entire town of Paradise, CA.  The fast moving fire forced thousands to flee for their lives. Cheryl and her husband, Robert, a retired firefighter, were two of those Paradise residents.

Cheryl and Robert were unable to return home and for the next few months lived in the nearby town of Chico while the entire community struggled to grasp with what happened and figure out what was next.  During this time, Cheryl’s symptoms worsened. The stress of the fire and not knowing what the future would hold caused her symptoms to severely flare up. Her tremors increased to the point where her medications no longer controlled them.  Her anxiety caused her physical symptoms to worsen and made it difficult to function on a daily basis.  Parkinson’s finally started to affect her cognitive abilities.  No matter the changes made to her medications, Cheryl’s symptoms progressed. 

While Cheryl and Robert’s home survived, she could not remain in a town decimated by loss.  Every time she looked out a window, Cheryl’s anxiety increased, which in turn, caused her tremors to worsen.  They made the heartbreaking decision to sell their home of thirty years and move to Reno, Nevada where they hoped to find a sense of normalcy.  Moving to Reno has been difficult in new and unanticipated ways. Being further away from family is the hardest for Cheryl.  She is closer to two daughters, but further away from her other daughters and her parents. This has not been an easy transition for her.  Further, their new home has caused increased financial burdens as it has undisclosed problems that they are currently addressing. All of this only caused Cheryl’s disease to control her life and limit her ability to move forward.  

Unfortunately, Cheryl has reached a point in her disease where the medication and other treatments no longer calm her tremors.  Cheryl and her doctors at UC Davis have decided that she will undergo Deep Brain Stimulation.  In short, this is a two-part surgery where three incisions are made into the skull, electrodes are inserted, and targeted areas of the brain are simulated.  An impulse generator battery (akin to a pacemaker) is also inserted to allow this simulation outside of surgery.  This is not a cure, but only a way to, hopefully, lessen her symptoms.  

Cheryl’s decision is not taken lightly.  The surgery is a last resort and reserved for those patients who have tried all other options in an effort to control symptoms.  Cheryl does have insurance, but it will not cover all the costs of the surgeries such as co-pays, share of costs, travel or lodging expenses.  Her DBS is scheduled for March 9, 2020.  Funds need to be raised by March 1st in order for Cheryl and Robert to have peace of mind in knowing they will be able to afford this drastic step in Cheryl’s treatment. I have known Cheryl for over 30 years and to watch my dear friend lose her ability to drive, socialize with family and friends and lose her ability to perform the daily routines of life is heartbreaking.  Please help!  Anything you can contribute is greatly appreciated!! Thank You!!
  • Sue Rollins Brown 
    • $100 
    • 21 mos
  • Kathy McHenry 
    • $100 
    • 24 mos
  • Bob and Chris Carman 
    • $350 
    • 26 mos
  • Bill & Rhonda Petree 
    • $100 
    • 26 mos
  • Wendy Vazquez 
    • $100 
    • 27 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Collette Bassett 
Chico, CA
Cheryl Duncan