My Pledge To APDA

I personally know what it is like to suffer from a life threatening illness. In 1999 I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. I was hospitalized for 4 months. I was administered chemotherapy to combat this auto immune disease. During this period I needed 12 units of blood and went from my normal body weight of 180 pounds down to 113 pounds.

Finally Dr. Michael Arvinitis was called in to perform the surgery that ultimately saved my life. At the same time I was going through my illness, my favorite uncle, Marty Ribler was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease.

Uncle Marty was a decorated Korean war veteran. If you searched the world over (or at least the 5 boroughs of NYC) you'd be hard pressed to find a stronger more confident man. For most of his life he worked in the elevator industry starting out as a mechanic. He was quickly promoted to foreman and finally to upper management of what is now known as Schindler Elevators based in NYC.

He was a very important role model in my life. I loved him dearly.

I watched helplessly as Parkinson's consumed Marty's life and body. His uncontrollable tremors were relentless. In an effort to reduce the tremors he went for a special type of surgery called DBS (Deep Brain Stimulation) in 2003. They surgically implanted two electrodes in his brain which were wired to a pacemaker device in his heart so that they could electronically control the tremors. Unfortunately, after the surgery he lost almost all power in his vocal chords. You would literally have to strain to hear his ever gasping words. This was a heart wrenching contrast to the uncle that I always knew.

I believe that the loss of his physical power led to the loss of his will to go on any longer. He passed away in September 2008 after battling this incredibly devastating disease for nearly 10 years.

In memory of my Uncle Marty, I felt it was time for me to take action to help make a difference for those who are suffering from Parkinson's disease. I will be donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of my latest CD "This Life" to APDA as well as scheduling performances to promote awareness in an effort to help find a cure for Parkinson's Disease. I hope you'll pick up a copy of "This Life" and enjoy the music as much as I loved making it for you. I want to thank each and every one of you for your concern and support of APDA. It's your generosity that makes the work of APDA possible. Let's do everything we can to make certain that we don't lose anymore relatives to this dreaded disease.

With Love