LSVT Global Team Member Spotlight! Gary Boyle

Gary Boyle: LSVT LOUD Volunteer Ambassador

What do you do?

It all begins with a LOUD AHH!  I partake in a weekly practice session with my LSVT buddies from around the U.S., England and Zimbabwe.  It’s a highlight of every week and it’s a great way to start the weekend.  I also volunteer my time occasionally to help with training Speech and Language Therapists who are learning the LSVT LOUD method for the first time.  And as much as possible on Social Media (principally Twitter) I champion LSVT for what it represents to me: a brilliant method for regaining and retaining VOICE and, separately, an equally brilliant method for MOVEMENT.

How long have you been volunteering with LSVT Global?

I’m pretty sure it’s at least 2 years…maybe 3!

What is your favorite part of your volunteer role?

Just the whole idea that me practicing my loud ‘AHH’s here in Dublin can help SLP Clinicians get comfortable teaching new skills to their Clients in the U.S.  It sounds crazy that a mad Irishman getting as LOUD as he can, helps Therapists on the other side of the world – but it’s far from crazy!

Tell us a little about yourself:

I was born in Dublin in May 1965, and lived my early life in the Irish midland town of Carlow. After a brief period of 3rd Level study, I moved to London, U.K. in the mid-80’s and stayed there until 1990. By then I’d met Joan (Duffy) and we married in 1992. A move back to Dublin happened the following year and we’re still here, along with our son, Daire and daughter, Bronwyn.

I spent my early career working for 10 years in various roles within the construction industry.  In 1997 I took a left turn and moved into Human Resources. I also completed my studies with the award of BSc. Management (European Law).  I really enjoyed a wonderful career with a large U.S. multinational, working at the leading edge of HR, both in Ireland and also for a couple of years in the U.S.

My life changed utterly in 2009: I was diagnosed with ‘Young Onset’ Parkinson’s Disease – a deteriorating neurological condition that was as unexpected as it is rare for any 44 year old.  The following 5 years proved increasingly difficult as my health worsened.  Given the state of my health by the end of 2015, I was admitted onto my employer’s ‘Income Protection’ insurance plan, and my career came to an abrupt end.

This dramatic change in my life allowed me to embrace the positive benefits of exercise in a way that has quite literally transformed my life.  I’ve has become a champion for an ‘multi-disciplinary’ approach to dealing with Parkinson’s, and indeed all neurological conditions, and I’ve even gone so far as to cycle 1,300km around Iceland to raise much needed awareness of PD.  For me the combination of exercise, diet, medication, rest and positive attitude, along with the loving support of Joan, Daire and Bronwyn, is what keeps me sane, happy and healthy – deteriorating neurological condition aside, of course!

I’ve made it my mission to drive Patient Advocacy forward so that in all medical consultations the Patient is always placed first; is always considered the expert in whatever condition is diagnosed, and is listened to in a way that fosters 2-way conversation rather than a ‘trust me, I’m a doctor’ approach.

The frustrations I may sometimes experience with my ‘mission’ in life are all but forgotten when I listen to any music, most especially Robert Plant and Led Zeppelin; when I get on my bike and cycles through the Phoenix Park in Dublin, or when I go for a run with brother and best buddy, Patrick.

Favorite quote, food, or pastime:

My favorite quote:

‘People will forget what you said, People will forget what you did, but People will never forget how you made them feel’.

– Maya Angelou

What are some words of wisdom you can share with others?

Parkinson’s Disease is an awful diagnosis to receive, there’s no hiding from that.  However such a diagnosis is no longer the ‘game over’ that it was once perceived.  We have moved on considerably in our daily challenge living with PD, and more and more we are winning.  We have not found the cure yet; perhaps we never will.  But we certainly have more tricks and tools than we’ve ever had to deal with this 205-year-old nuisance.  I believe we are at a tipping point, where the upper hand will move to those of us living with Parkinson’s Disease.  For me personally, while I’m not cured, I am very much better.

“Gary, a self-proclaimed “mad Irishman”, is an exemplar of the heart and soul of our volunteers with Parkinson’s. He exudes activism, giving, positivity and hope, with a special focus on voice and body exercise. He is eloquent beyond compare and shares his beautiful words of encouragement with all our exercise group members, coaches and LSVT clinicians in training. We are beyond lucky to have him join in from the other side of the pond and immensely grateful for all he does for us and the Parkinson’s community.”

-Cynthia Fox, CEO & Co-Founder, LSVT Global