Celebrity Health

He's Back. Team Fox MVP Jimmy Choi Competes on American Ninja Warrior

He's Back. Team Fox MVP Jimmy Choi Competes on American Ninja Warrior

Not too many people can boast about competing and completing the complex obstacle course on American Ninja Warrior. Jimmy Choi, however, has competed in it twice.  While that might be impressing already, Choi's attempts are even more amazing as he has managed to do it after being diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s disease.

The first time Choi appeared, he inspired many of the show's viewers, even when he didn't quite complete the course. He vowed to return after, and he did. Less than one year later, Choi returned to the stage with more training under his belt. He had an inspirational message from Michael J. Fox that played before competing, and a massive team of supporters behind him.

This time, he conquered the course and showed everyone that a disease like Parkinson’s doesn’t always mean the end. Instead, it could very well be the beginning of a new and exciting chapter. 

Shedding a new light on advocacy, Choi returned to the warrior course to show the world once again that having Parkinson’s doesn’t mean that you can’t do what you love. While on the show, Choi managed to advocate for the disease and become friends with American Ninja Warrior co-host Akbar Gbajabiamila, whose father has Parkinson's disease. They both found different ways to reach out to the Parkinson's community, to help educate the world about Parkinson's, and raise money through their own initiatives.

Gbajabiamila was so inspired by Choi and his dedication to being an advocate that he is hosting his very own fundraiser in August. “Parkour 4 Parkinson’s” will bring together members of the Ninja Warriors and supporters of The Michael J. Fox Foundation to raise $350,000 for Parkinson's disease research.

Early onset Parkinson's disease affects between 2 and 10 percent of the Parkinson's disease population.

Early onset Parkinson’s disease affects between 2 and 10 percent of the Parkinson's disease population.  As the name suggests, early onset Parkinson’s targets adults under the age of 50.  While there is still no known reason why younger people develop the disease, researchers do say that the younger the person is when they develop Parkinson's, the higher the chances that it is caused by genetics. This means that either parent of the patient could be a carrier of the disease.

Symptoms of early onset Parkinson’s disease are:

  • Tremors in the arms, legs, jaw and face
  • Rigid limbs and trunk
  • Issues with balance and maintaining posture

Over time, the patient may find that walking, talking and performing basic actions like feeding themselves or getting dressed without help is almost impossible.

Read on to learn more about early onset Parkinson's, and how Jimmy Choi overcomes it.

Photo source: Michael J. Fox Foundation