My Second Life


At the age of 37, Bill Harshaw was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. The news changed his life forever,bringing forth a saga that will give hope to not only Parkinsonians, but to people with chronic disease everywhere. My Second Life is not a detailed road map or a set of instructions. Instead, it is an account of his changing state of mind over the two decades that he has had Parkinson’s Disease.

Beginning with his diagnosis at the age of 37, this twenty-year journey covers diagnosis, denial, coping with work, early retirement, experimental neurosurgery, and taking a major leadership role in The Parkinson Foundation of Canada. Bill’s account of the two neurosurgical procedures is the first by a patient of the operations that gave him a second chance at life.

"They say adversity draws out our deepest human qualities. To read Bill Harshaw’s story is to confirm that truth. From the scrap heap of neurogeneration at the same age as Michael J. Fox, to guinea pig for risky brain surgery and then to resurgence and rejoicing, Bill’s exemplary journey is a metaphor for the vast and positive capabilities of the human spirit." -David C. Simmonds, Chair, Parkinson Foundation of Canada

About the Author

William A. Harshaw

Posted by Dundurn Guest on December 6, 2014

William A. Harshaw

Bill Harshaw spent his working career in the investment business and as a corporate treasurer before Parkinson's Disease forced him to retire on long-term disability. Following two highly successful neurosurgical procedures in 1993 and 1994, Bill took a leadership role in The Parkinson Foundation of Canada. Bill married Esther Clark in 1968. They have two children and a five-year-old Airedale Terrier.