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Former Smithereen shares challenges of Parkinson's in new book

'If you are looking behind, you will trip': Ryan Oevermann
Valley Connections

It was natural for me to think about Ryan Oevermann when I was thinking of fathers for the coming Father’s Day. He had been on my mind as I was hoping for all things positive for a young man who was scheduled for deep-brain-stimulation surgery, and a relief to hear when he was through it.

Now 49, Ryan was first diagnosed at 43 years of age with early-onset Parkinson’s Disease. He recalled that he and his wife, Sue, spent that first day deciding that there would be some silver linings and they would just have to find them. They began investigating meds that would help with symptoms. Ryan decided to leave the reason that he got Parkinson's up to the researchers and doctors as there is no known cause or cure. 

"That's for the doctors to figure out. I've got things to figure out," he said.

Looking forward is inherent in Ryan. He has a book coming out on Amazon July 21, 2024, Chronicles of a Parky, which he wrote while getting his 5th degree black belt in Taekwondo (having already won medals nationally in both sparring and patterns). It’s a book written to reduce the sting of Parkinson’s while saying happiness in life requires gratitude and gratitude is a habit that can be developed.

His intrinsic nature to look forward spurred him on as a father to teach his children life skills. Before he was diagnosed, he started to write a book for his children, Landon and Tana. Always Push the Swing is for them — and it too will be published. 

Both Landon and Tana also have their black belts in taekwondo. When she was spotted by a scout for the national team, Tana reasoned if she didn’t make it she would take all the new skills as part of learning.

Ryan, Sue and their children all have their black belts, but his passion started here with his Smithers family. 

His mom took him to Taekwondo while he was at Chandler Park Elementary School. Ryan has been into taekwondo for 30 years and has taught students of all ages and levels. He says in his upcoming book.

“I promise you, if you throw a kick in my face I will spend very little time trying to figure out why you did it," he says in the book. "I’m already reacting to it.”  

You can follow our Smithers Secondary graduate on Facebook.

Spin magazine often follows Ryan and Chronicles of a Parky will have a sequel Return from Parksville.

If you are in the village of Sun Peaks he hopes you will say hello; he's always happy to rekindle old friendships.

It's a busy life for Ryan as he is still active with his family and teaching taekwondo two days a week. He works full-time as a supervisor at Sun Peaks and travels to Vancouver for his many scheduled post-op exams and tweaking. He doesn’t know what each new day’s challenges will be but a quips, “If you are looking behind, you will trip.”

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