Vince Marino has Parkinson's, but he is not letting the disease have him.
Marino, 58, was diagnosed with Parkinson's eight years ago and took a disability retirement from a 25-year career at UPS due to his condition.
This year, Marino and other local advocates for those afflicted with Parkinson's will be hosting a Parkinson's Casino Night at 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 17 at Bommarito's Eastpointe Manor Banquet and Dining Hall, 24611 Gratiot Ave., Eastpointe.
After learning he had Parkinson's, Marino started a support group for people his age. He exercises daily, and when Marino had back surgery that left him temporarily using a wheelchair, he learned to do chair-based exercises.
"You slow down and sometimes have blurry vision … the disease is progressive, but it's not written in stone, I believe, because I exercise daily and I listen to my doctor's instructions," said Marino. "If you tell me to do something, I over-follow directions and I have the intensity of a rabid wolverine."
Marino is one of nearly 30,000 Michiganians with the neurodegenerative disease, which afflicts about 1.5 million people in the U.S., according to the Michigan Parkinson's Foundation website.
The disease can cause a variety of symptoms, such as problems with balance and tremors or shaking of affected parts of the body.
Marino has devoted much of his time to helping others with Parkinson's through a variety of efforts, including starting a walkathon a few years ago to get more people with Parkinson's involved "and to have a good time," he said.
Last year he got involved in hosting a dinner to raise funds in support of the foundation. In between his Parkinson's work, he has worked on behalf of youth in the community by serving as a member of the South Lake school board for the past 17 years.
As for Friday's casino night, admission is $3, People can win prizes, but the real winners will be people with Parkinson's, say Lac Ste. Claire Kiwanis Club President Bryan Mazey and club member Marino.
All proceeds from the evening go to the Michigan Parkinson's Foundation, and the money stays in the state.
"This money is not looking for a cure. This money is to help people with Parkinson's live with their disease, and to put out information," Mazey said.
The Casino Night, which is open to those who are at least 21-years-old, will include a silent auction and cash bar. Those who purchase tickets in advance will have the opportunity to win special door prizes, including a set of his-and-her watches donated by Maloof Jewelery and Gifts in St. Clair Shores.
And while he is busy helping others, Marino does not neglect the fight against the foe that is attacking his body every day.
"There's no cure, and it's never ending," he commented. "I find out something new about Parkinson's every day."
Call Marino at 586-872-3538 or Mazey at 586-255-6616 for advance tickets. Tickets will also be sold at the door.