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Cleveland Hts. doctor powerful force in fight to find cure for Parkinson's

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Dr. Karen Jaffe was diagnosed in 2007 with Parkinson's. Dr. Karen Jaffe was diagnosed in 2007 with Parkinson's.
(WOIO) -

What do Cat Stevens, Nirvana, Peter Gabriel, Hall and Oates, Kiss and Linda Ronstadt have in common?

All of them were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Thursday night at New York's Barclays Center.

Ronstadt, however, didn't make it to the induction ceremony.  Coping with Parkinson's disease, the cruel irony is that the country rock icon can no longer sing.

Here in Northeast Ohio, a Cleveland Heights doctor has become a powerful force in the fight to find a cure for Parkinson's.

It became personal for Dr. Karen Jaffe when doctors diagnosed her with the debilitating disease in 2007.

"Eventually I decided to do the bravest thing I hope I ever have to do in my life and come out in this community as a physician with Parkinson's disease," said Jaffe.

She owned it.  The calling for this beautiful, polished, smart, go-getter has changed for the now retired University Hospitals OB-GYN.

Now she "delivers" first hand, "been there done that" inspiration and hope personified.

"I  want a cure. I'm too young to have this and a lot of other people need a cure, too," Jaffe said.

Jaffe has problems with balance and dexterity but no problem with determination.

"People say you don't look like you have Parkinson's; well, thank goodness my meds have worked pretty well," said Jaffe.

There is more promising research happening right here in Cleveland. Jaffe's husband, Marc, is literally making a physical investment. He's committed  to 7 spinal taps over 5 years for research.

"Marc is one of the controls to find a bio marker for the progression of Parkinson's like cholesterol is for blood pressure or glucose is for diabetes."

The Jaffe's have personally raised $460,000 dollars for Parkinson's research through their www.shakingwithlaughter.org network.

Just last week the Jaffe's were alongside Michael J. Fox for the third year for the Fox Foundation's MVP dinner in New York.

Karen is on the Patient Advisory Council.

Karen proud to say, "When I talk to people who are nervous about Parkinson's and think nothing is happening, they always walk away happy to hear that so much is going on."

Marc Jaffe, saying confidently, "All I know for sure is we're closer today to finding a cure than we were yesterday and we'll be closer tomorrow."

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