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Rasmussen decided to share his diagnosis to help others struggling with the disease and those looking for a cure.

By Alaa Abdeldaiem
July 15, 2019

ESPN founder Bill Rasmussen is battling Parkinson's disease.

Rasmussen, 86, revealed his diagnosis in a first-person story on ESPN's Front Row website. The founder said he was diagnosed in 2014 but decided to share his battle in hopes of helping others struggling with the disease and looking for a cure.

"First and foremost—I'm doing well. For a guy pushing 87, and with the help of medicine that helps treat my symptoms, I still get around quite well and continue to travel the country telling the ESPN/life lessons stories as I have for decades," he wrote. "I live in Seattle now with my amazing daughter, Lynn, a registered nurse and her incredible family, who have been on this journey with me and without whom this Parkinson's mystery would be a lot harder to tackle.

"Now, by expanding the circle, by sharing my experiences," Rasmussen continued, "my hope is that I can help others who are impacted by Parkinson's and we'll all learn more together."

Parkinson's disease is a progressive brain disorder that results in a loss of coordination and movement. The condition affects between 600,000 and 1 million people in the United States alone. Rasmussen said he felt no differences in his daily life before his hands gradually began to shake and issues with his gait and balance began to develop.

Rasmussen added that, to prove those with Parkinson's can lead productive lives, he will throw out a ceremonial first pitch during the Red Sox's game against the Yankees on Sept. 8.

"I'll be talking a lot about PD in the weeks and months ahead—not as a victim, but as living, breathing proof that when you or a loved one hears the dreaded words, 'You have Parkinson's disease,' life is not over—it's just the beginning of a new chapter," Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen launched ESPN in Sept. 1979 with his son Scott Rasmussen and served as the network's first president and CEO.

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