Jacob Kidney

Scholarship Recipient:
Jacob Kidney

2023

Jacob says his essential tremor (ET) does not define him, but it has played a significant role in defining who he becomes.

“It has been a source of some of my greatest challenges and successes in my life,” Jacob said. “It is my life’s purpose to find new ways to live with ET and inspire others to do the same.”

Movement disorders are prevalent in his family so he has grown up around them and was diagnosed himself at the age of eight. But while studying abroad about five years ago, he got sick and his tremors worsened. He was forced to drop out of graduate school and felt lost, confused and alone.

He found one of the IETF’s ET support groups and it helped him begin the process of regaining confidence in himself. He said it was a relief to meet so many others struggling with the same condition, sharing stories and supporting each other. He gained so much confidence that he completed five half-marathons, a half Ironman triathlon and became a yoga instructor. In 2021, Jacob started leading his own ET Support Group in Rochester, NY.

He currently works for a nonprofit called Mission PD supporting people with Parkinson’s disease. He heads up a support group there as well as a book club.

He was accepted into the advanced standing accelerated graduate social work program at the University of Texas Rio Grand Valley. He has plans to become a mental health therapist once he graduates. He would like to provide services for people with ET in the future.