By Caitlyn Jules Malilay
Unfortunately, one flick with a wand and sprinkle of magic cannot make Parkinson’s Disease disappear for 48-year-old David Rabotnick, COC nursing student, husband, and father of two sons also majoring in medicine.
Parkinson’s Disease is a disorder of the central nervous system. It causes either tremors or muscle degeneration and is more common in men than women. “Parkinson’s is the second most common age-related neurodegenerative disorder after Alzheimer’s. An estimated seven million to 10 million people [across the globe are diagnosed],” according to Parkinson’s News Today.
“The muscles on my left side of the body can never be relaxed. They are always stiff,” David says. “I was diagnosed 3 years ago,” he pauses, thinking of how it affects his everyday life. “and things that require fine motor skills have been switched to the right side of my body.”
Apart from having this condition, David enjoys doing magic during his leisure time. “It’s my primary entertainment and I use it as therapy,” he says happily. “I took up with magic [rather] than boring exercises.” He also has a YouTube channel where he can be seen performing tricks, , called Slow-Motion Magic.
“Every Sunday, I upload a video of me doing magic which is challenging,” David says.
Next Sunday, he plans on making a few adjustments to his videos where he will tell a fact about Parkinson’s while at the same time, continuing to encourage people to donate to the Michael J. Fox Foundation. “They’re the largest, most productive foundation for fighting Parkinson’s.” Michael J. Fox, most known for playing Marty in the classic 1980s film series, Back To The Future, was diagnosed when he was only 29 years old. He created the foundation to help find a cure for this little monster.
In the bio of David’s YouTube channel, he has links, where you can help donate money.
David’s 20-year-old son Jason Rabotnick was only a teenager finishing high school when he heard the devastating news. It came to him like a sudden, unforeseen thunderstorm. A dark, gray cloud had formed over him and a mix of emotions went rambling through his head when he found out that his father was diagnosed with this condition.
“I think I was scared because, aside from not knowing whether or not it was genetic, and therefore, was something that I should fear for myself, it made me view my dad as mortal,” Jason says. It’s hard for him to recall his exact emotions, for it was so long ago, and is a memory that must be concealed in a jar, and only opened when asked.
Out of all the magicians, David’s favorite is Jay Sankey, a Canadian famously known from Canada. He likes how “he is more of a fun, less serious magician” and “has a more clear sense and love for magic”, unlike others who forget “to connect with the audience.” He would love to work at the Magic Castle, but doesn’t feel as talented as other magicians.
There is no cure for Parkinson’s yet, but it can be managed by medicine. “As time goes by, the medications need to be more aggressive. There’s no cure, just dealing with the symptoms,” David says.
“Thank God thee symptoms are well managed,” Jason says. Parkinson’s is barely a barrier between him and his father. It does not limit the things that him and his father have done before the diagnosis. “Because the symptoms are well managed, there is very little help he needs from me.”
As his condition progresses, David realizes, “There is going to be a point where I can’t be a bedside nurse,” he says. His plan is to “go into lecturing as nursing professor.” Even though things don’t go as planned in life, there is a way to go around it and not let the enemy hold you back.
“My favorite magic trick is probably the one called Burn ‘em, and it’s my favorite primarily because my wife enjoys it,” David says. He does a little bit of magic outside of his YouTube channel as well. “I do a little bit of street magic, Starbucks, and I’ve done some party magic.” By party magic, he is referring to doing performances for birthday celebrations and such. He charges $100 an hour per show.
The fact that he was diagnosed does affect Jason’s life decisions. His original plan was to “move to Israel during the summer”, but he was “advised by somebody very close” to him to stay in the United States and finish school. “A big reason as to why that I stayed in America is because I know that when I finish nursing school and if, God forbid, my dad’s symptoms progressed, I’m sure that I will be there to help him,” Jason says.
David Rabotnick is one of many fighters in a duel against Parkinson’s disease. Not only is he an inspiration to others by not letting an unforeseen circumstance defeat him or his dreams of becoming a nurse, he is also a magician. Sadly though, there is no cure or magic trick to make Parkinson’s disease disappear. “The fact that he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and is still pursuing in nursing, it’s an inspiration for me that I should follow through what I want to do,” Jason says.