Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Cade Otton recently reflected on what it was like to lose his mother Sally Boettger Waterstradt Otton after her battle with Parkinson’s disease.
“My mom was just sitting on the couch with my dad and her big toe was just wiggling a little bit. She said, ‘Come look at this!’ We thought it was kind of weird, so we took her to the doctor to see what was happening. We had no clue that it would be a diagnosis like that,” the 23-year-old NFL player shared in a statement issued by Tampa Bay.
“Once she got the diagnosis, I started to learn a lot of things and just researched what the disease entailed. We all cried for a day, but my mom was just so determined to just keep moving forward and to be happy about the things she could do.”
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Parkinson’s disease is a disorder that affects the nervous system and progressively deteriorates movement, often including tremors. The disorder, which comes with uncontrollable movements, is a harrowing diagnosis for anyone to endure, especially a triathlon athlete such as Sally Boettger Waterstradt. Otton described his mother’s loss of movement as a difficult process but applauded her ability to stay positive through her journey.
Cade Otton says his mother always ‘found joy in the little things’
“At the point she was diagnosed, she was still running, competing in triathlons, and was doing everything she would usually do. As time went on, motor skills got taken away and mobility and stuff like that,” the tight end said. “Towards the end of her life, she was not able to go on runs as much or drive, but she always found joy in the little things she could do. That is such a testament to her and her character.”
“She was always just so joyful and was always doing just whatever she could to help and support us,” Otton added. “That was all the way up until the end of her life. She was just such a trooper and always powered through what she was going through for her family.”
After a long battle with the disease, Otton’s mother tragically passed away on September 20, 2022. Although the moment was tragic, the NFL player said his family’s strength allowed him to grieve properly. “Those things that rock you to your core, you just have to rely on your foundational beliefs, and I relied on my faith and my family, that is what got me through,” he explained.
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