Woman battling Parkinson's disease to try out for 'American Ninja Warrior'
Allison Toepperwein, 38, nearly paralyzed by disease 3 years ago
HOUSTON – A Houston woman going against all odds is planning to try out for one of the toughest shows on television.
"I'm throwing fear out (of) the water," Allison Toepperwein said. "I am not going to ever feel that way again."
"American Ninja Warrior" is all about pushing strength, hanging on and holding tight -- a challenging feat even for the fit and healthy.
If you look at Toepperwein now, you'd never know just three years ago she was nearly paralyzed by Parkinson's disease.
"When I was first diagnosed I had incredible pain," she said. "I wasn't able to type for three years and 48 hours on the medicine and all of the sudden I can move both hands."
Every Parkinson's patient is different from the other -- how they react to medications, what type of meds work better for them.
For the 38-year-old mother, who was already active, doctors at Baylor knew exercise would be her best chance to stay mobile.
"In my case, it has had such a profound effect that not only is it slowing, dare I might say, it could be reversing it." Toepperwein said.
The new lease on life was a game-changer. She went all out, doing obstacle races, mud runs and now "Ninja Warrior."
Working with Sam Sann at Iron Sports gym, Toepperwein is training for the hit show.
"When she's nervous, she trembles," Sann said.
But Toepperwein will be overcoming weakness and tremors caused by Parkinson's while competing on national TV.
"When I get up on that podium, I'm going to shake like a fish out of water. There's no way to prepare for that," she said.
The fact is, she will probably shake. She might even fall. But she said she will not be defeated.
"I'm throwing fear out the water," Toepperwein said. "I am not going to ever feel that way again. I will never allow that and I will do anything it takes to fight this disease. And I think right now exercise is the best way possible."
If her real goal is to inspire other people, she's already won the greatest support from her 6-year-old daughter.
"She's already told me, 'Mommy, I want to be strong like you one day.' And for a mom who is single, does a lot for her, that's something that I could die right now and be happy," Toepperwein said.
"American Ninja Warrior" airs Wednesday on Channel 2.
The episode focusing specifically on Toepperweing comes on later in June.