Local radio host and husband open up about his early-onset Parkinson's diagnosis

NOW: Local radio host and husband open up about his early-onset Parkinson’s diagnosis

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A radio talk show host and her husband are revealing a shocking medical discovery. Now, Julia Fello of 620 WTMJ is preparing to do whatever it takes to help her husband after he was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson's Disease.

Sixteen years ago, at a Wausau TV station, this work romance bloomed.

"Oh, I had a huge crush on him, like he was my photographer, so, and then I noticed like the muscles on his arm, and I was like 'woo,'" said Julia Fello, Jason's wife.

The couple moved markets, ultimately landing in Milwaukee where Julia Fello now co-hosts afternoons on 620 WTMJ.

Her husband, Jason Klappa, is with Visit Milwaukee's Good Things Brewing.

"As a director of photography, running cameras and stuff, I do a lot with both hands," said Jason Klappa.

But two years ago, Klappa's left hand seemed off.

"I noticed like tapping along to music in the car, you know, it's like my hand would just sort of run out of steam. Even like cooking, whisking eggs or trying to do things with your hand. I couldn't move the whisk very fast," said Klappa.

Doctors initially suspected a pinched nerve. Physical therapy helped but, "there was something in my gut that just sort of said, you know, it doesn't really explain it. There was, I sort of felt like my gait was off," said Klappa.

After a series of tests, including one that looked at the dopamine in his brain, a shocking diagnosis.

"Just looked at me and said, I'm sorry to say this but I'm concerned you have early-onset Parkinson's Disease. I was in total shock and denial about that. You have that, you know, just kind of stopped and went 'I'm 39, no way,'" said Klappa.

"It was horrible, and you know, that night he asked me, 'will you put your hand on my chest while I fall asleep?' And I did, and then he fell asleep, and he did a little snore, and I cried all night. I cried all night," said Fello.

But Jason and Julia learned to have hope through his early-onset diagnosis.

"Early-onset progresses much slower, typically responds well to medication and we can get you much closer to normal. It's nowhere near a death sentence," said Klappa.

A year later, Klappa's exercising more and working to regulate his body through daily medications.

"Parkinson's is not just a tremor. It's a whole lot of movement, non-movement, digestive, it can present in a lot of different ways," said Klappa.

The couple's joined the Parkinson's Foundation to help others.

We asked, "How much of your fight is for not only your job, but for Julia, your relationship?"

Jason told us, "Oh I would say all of it. I mean that was one thing I didn't want, I didn't want, 'oh this is rough, I'm sorry,' you know nobody wants to be a burden. So that's why one of those things, the day of the test, nobody wants to be a burden."

"He's the reason why I breathe every day, so I'm more than happy to help in any way," said Fello.

Jason's hoping when he turns 41 in January that he'll be better at regulating his medications. He says doctors call Parkinson's a snowflake disease because symptoms present in different ways in different people.

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