This story was previously published in Mayo Clinic Magazine.
Steve Day is on a mission as he scans a crowd of about 150 people in the banquet hall of a golf course in his boyhood hometown of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. When he finally finds his target, he begins weaving through the crowd. Steve’s cane and wobbly amble are the only signs that something might be amiss with the retired grandfather.
“Hi, Coach,” Steve says. “Steve Day? I can’t believe it’s you, and you’re here,” says David Kinney, Steve’s former wrestling coach who last talked to his Lincoln High pupil in 1969. Sometimes, Steve can’t believe he’s standing here either, in the aftermath of a diagnosis he formally received a little over three years ago at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Steve’s balance issues, sleeping problems and irregular blood pressure stem from a rare, unusual neurodegenerative disease — multiple system atrophy. [...]