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In his new book Pills, Bills, & Parkinson’s Disease: Coping with the On-Off Syndrome, Paul Luscombe ’60 describes his personal battle with the debilitating neurological illness.

Diagnosed in 1992 at age 53, Luscombe attempted to hide his condition for seven years before his symptoms worsened. After several successful publications and encouragement from his doctors, Luscombe decided to chronicle his personal experiences with the disease.

“I asked the neurologists on my team what they thought, and they were very supportive,” he says. “Most of the books about Parkinson’s disease are technical in nature, and they thought there was a need for such a publication.”

Luscombe encourages those living with Parkinson’s to remain active, and he hopes that by sharing his own experiences, he can inspire others to adjust to life with the disease without losing their dignity and contact with the outside world.

“When you have Parkinson’s disease, it is easy to make excuses and to just give up,” he says. “Sitting home, remote in hand, is surely an easy way out for many Parkinson’s victims. Many atrophy while I try to exhort them to get up and get active. To the degree that victims are sports fans, I encourage them to see the football or basketball game in person rather than sitting at home. Play golf if you can, regardless of your score! Conquering the nuances of a specific stadium or golf course adds to one’s sense of accomplishment, possibly one’s self esteem.”

Luscombe began writing after his condition forced him to retire as senior vice president of Morgan Stanley and to resign from his positions as chairman of Lafayette’s Athletic Hall of Fame and as guest speaker for the Keene Savings Bank economic seminar. Determined to stay active and productive, he created PAL Publishing to allow him to write and publish at his own pace.

The philosophy graduate has always been an active alumnus and continues to support the College as a member of the Marquis Society and as class correspondent.

“I think my role as managing editor of the Lafayette College newspaper, a job that took up four nights a week, was the most gratifying experience in my life to that point in time,” he says. “When we graduated in 1960, my classmates elected me class correspondent, and 45 years later I am still in office. My wife says I never graduated! I only live one hour from campus, so that has made being active that much easier. The College is my main charity. I guess you just call it dedication!”

Luscombe’s other books include Play the Game Right: the Biography of Butch van Breda Kolff, Give Dad a Mulligan!, and Howard Powerless: the Rise & Fall of the Howard Savings Bank.

Categorized in: Alumni Profiles