Richard Mayede with Vancouver Canucks rightwing, Brock Boeser
“Parkinson's has made me a more well-rounded person. The best lesson I learned is humility,” Richard Mayede says reflecting on his journey with Parkinson’s disease.
Since 2015, PSBC Board Member, Richard Mayede has been a valued active member of the Parkinson Society British Columbia (PSBC) community. Richard, or Katsuji in Japanese, means “victory” signifying the victory that he is due to his mother’s loss of three boys born prematurely, prior to Richard. His mother believes this is a factor in Richard’s determination as he must have been those three sons trying to make it into this world without ever giving up. With his English name meaning “lionhearted” after King Richard, and “victory” from Katsuji, he has built his identity around the two words since childhood. With a winning mindset, Richard aims to live his life being the best he can be as he doesn’t like to lose, and always plays to win.
Richard was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD) in 2005, which determined him to be a positive force and a source of encouragement in life. Richard’s symptoms vary, like many others who live with PD. Freezing, slow movement, anxiety, inability to control movement, and pain are some of the symptoms Richard lives with. However, he exclaims, “Despite occasional moments of excruciating pain, I am determined to not let it defeat me by feeling sorry for myself.”
Sports and involvement with PSBC are just a few ways Richard shares his gifts and inspires others. Richard’s journey with sports all started in the first grade when he decided to beat his asthma through running. At eight years old, Richard first discovered ice hockey as a hobby of his and still plays to this day! As a passionate sports fan, Richard loves the social benefit of engaging with others through sports, which has helped him manage his symptoms. Currently, Richard is in the process of proposing open gym time at local community centers for people with PD. He hopes to give others the chance to add sports in their daily routine without the feeling of being uncomfortable around others while playing.
Advocacy work with PSBC for the Parkinson’s community holds a special place in Richard’s heart. “I want to inspire people to go out of their usual frame of reference and be a voice of support for a cause that they believe in. I grew up in a very supportive environment, yet it took PD to finally understand my purpose in life,” he says. From participating in SuperWalk, being at PSBC info booths, to sharing his story on the radio, he is always willing to help be involved wherever he can! Additionally, Richard helped with the increase of deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgeries in BC, sharing his experience with Parkinson’s disease to the provincial finance committee along with conversing with a number of Victoria MLAs. The big step Richard took in his involvement with PSBC was in 2016, when he called to ask about becoming a board member. It was important for him to be a part of shaping BC’s treatment for Parkinson’s. “I want to show that anyone who wants to make a difference in their world, can make a difference. I'm just a regular guy. If I can make the change I want to see, anyone else can do it too!” Richard explains.
When it comes to introducing advocacy work/volunteering or sports into one’s life, Richard says to ‘Just do it!’ The best thing Richard says you can do for yourself if you are living with PD is to stay active with whatever you enjoy. It doesn’t have to be sports too, working out, walking, dancing are just some great activities Richard recommends. If you have a loved one diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, Richard’s advice to you is to be by their side no matter what. “This person needs your commitment through the good and the bad. If you can't handle the progression of PD, imagine how much worse it is for the individual? Become the shoulder they can lean on; the sounding board that they go to when they need to vent. And be honest with them. A true friend will tell one what they need to hear, not what they want to hear,” he says.
Richard does not let Parkinson’s control his life and is constantly overcoming each obstacle with his love for sports, creativity, and making a difference in his community. Richard hopes that PD can be understood better in our world, “If you met someone with Parkinson's, you've met one person with Parkinson's." Having PD is a journey that'll be different for everyone. Yes, some symptoms are similar to all of us, but each of us will face things in our own way.”