Living with Parkinson's: P.E.I. musician manages 'day by day'

Five years after being diagnosed with Parkinson's, a well-known member of the Island music scene says he has learned to live with it.

After denying the diagnosis, Paul Benard learned to live with disease

Paul Bernard says he is managing day by day to live with Parkinson's disease. (Matt Rainnie/CBC)

Five years after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, a well-known member of the Island music scene says he has learned to live with it.

Classical guitarist Paul Bernard was the founder of Este Mundo but he also worked and recorded as a solo artist.

He said his right foot started shaking abnormally during studio work about five years ago and he was diagnosed soon after.

"At first I didn't know what to think of it all and I denied it but after a while I just started to accept it."

Bernard said the disease is progressing. He is losing his voice and has bad balance issues, falling often.

Cycling for awareness

Bernard recently cycled across P.E.I. with a group of others with Parkinson's to raise funds and awareness. He said he finds cycling very easy.  

"My balance is very good on the bike for some reason, I don't know why."

When asked what was the most challenging part of the ride, he said, "the uphills, it was pretty hard actually."

Bernard was able to complete 80 per cent of the ride, telling Island Morning's Matt Rainnie he felt pretty great being able to do it.

"I really hadn't planned on this one but Dan Steel really cajoled me into it so I did it for the fun of it."

Bernard said the best thing he saw on his trip was St. Peter's Bay.

"It's pretty gorgeous there."

Musician at heart

Still a musician at heart, Bernard takes part in a singing class.

"It's helping my voice a little bit, not much but also for the camaraderie."

Bernard no longer plays in public saying he's not able to use his hands — but he still teaches.

While it's not easy living with Parkinson's, he is hoping more awareness can be raised to help others with the disease.

"I manage day by day."

With files from Island Morning