A Program of the Medtronic Foundation

Yongkuan Shen
Bakken Honoree Yongkuan Shen 

Yongkuan Shen, 73

2016 Bakken Invitation Honoree

Nanjing, China
Charity: Chinese Red Cross Foundation

Medical Condition: Parkinson's disease
Medical Therapy: Deep Brain Stimulation

I Want to Share My Inspiring Story

Yongkuan's "extra life"Inspires Me

Yongkuan served the people of China for the majority of his life as a pilot and a public servant. His community work became difficult when he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2007. After suffering from tremors for years, Yongkuan received Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) therapy in 2014, which completely changed his life. Now, he volunteers at the Chinese Red Cross Foundation and serves as president and co-founder of Jiangsu Parkinson's Association, supporting and connecting patients to raise awareness of the disease and treatment options. Yongkuan's Bakken Invitation Award will help more people who are suffering from Parkinson’s Disease to seek out effective treatment options.

Yongkuan's Story

"The majority of my life, I have served the people of China as a pilot and a public servant in the government, and also in the army. After retiring, I had more time to volunteer and help those in need but had difficulty doing so after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2007.

"It was a disastrous blow. The tremors in my hands, legs, and arms prevented me from living on my own and doing the hobbies I love, such as drawing. Thankfully, my doctors helped me every step of the way. In 2014, I received Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), which completely changed my life and removed a huge burden from my family. I regained my independence and confidence.

"Most people with Parkinson’s disease are not aware of DBS therapy, so I use my extra life to encourage patients and their families to seek effective symptom treatment. I volunteer at the Chinese Red Cross Foundation and Jiangsu Provincial People's Hospital, where I received my DBS therapy. After collaborating with other Red Cross-affiliated hospitals and experts, we hosted lectures informing patients of science-based treatment options.

"I knew there were others like me, so I founded Jiangsu Parkinson’s Association to connect patients with each other. Research showed some patients suffered depression after their diagnosis, but the support group helped re-establish their confidence and has benefited nearly 1,000 patients. To reach even more people, I set up online forums, WeChat groups and the website Parkinson's Patient Care Home.

"I am now able to draw again thanks to DBS therapy and since then, I wrote a book about my journey battling the disease. I've also published dozens of literary works, all encouraging people to keep a positive outlook and give back to society. An enthusiast for traditional Chinese calligraphy and painting, I donated the sales of my work to sponsor Parkinson’s patients living below the poverty line.

"I firmly believe we can raise awareness of Parkinson's, and I shall contribute to champion this cause until the very end."

Yongkuan's words of inspiration

“I encourage people to believe in themselves, and the wonderful future medical technology brings. We can make a difference if we support each other and work together.”

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inspire others

$20,000 Grant Makes an Impact

Under the administration of the Chinese Red Cross Society, the Chinese Red Cross Foundation is a national public fundraising organization well known for its energetic teamwork, creative program design and fast growing development to help minorities. Yongkuan’s Bakken Invitation Award will help more people who are suffering from Parkinson's Disease to seek out effective treatment options.

 

Learn about other 2016 Honorees »

*Not everyone who receives this therapy will receive the same results as the patient in this story. Talk with your doctor to determine if this type of therapy is right for you.