In 2012, Bill Ragle noticed some unusual things going on with his health. After a physical exam and bloodwork, he asked his family doctor, “What about this twitch?” Bill says the doctor seemed to react with a bit of alarm. Performing some basic tests, the doctor made a tentative diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. In short, it’s a brain disorder that can cause shaking, difficulty walking, stiffness, and coordination issues. 

Well known people dealing with Parkinson’s

Michael J. Fox, Neil Diamond, Alan Alda, Jesse Jackson, and Linda Ronstadt have been diagnosed with the debilitating disease. Those who have passed on - who had Parkinson’s - include Billy Graham, Robin Williams, Pope John Paul II, George H.W. Bush and my own father, Richard A. Hunt. 

But Bill Ragle is among a select group of patients who have been treated with a relatively new procedure that can often bring significant relief. 

(Learn more in our complete podcast)

After the diagnosis, it wasn’t long before Bill’s health started going downhill “pretty dramatically and pretty quickly.” He and his wife, LuAnn, viewed the deteriorating situation almost like a death, with grief stages, as Bill became “hunched over” and was walking poorly. He lost 15 pounds in one month! 

Dr. Ragle sits with a metal “frame” around his head to help surgeons map out the main incision
[Photo Credit: Cedarville University] Dr. Ragle sits with a metal “frame” around his head to help surgeons map out the main incision

A committed Christian, Bill, who is Professor of Finance at Ohio’s Cedarville University, explains he had many talks with God about his circumstances. And he concluded God would do one of two things. “God can heal me. I know he can do that. I’ve seen him do that with other people, so why not me?” The other way would be: God allowing him to go through the ailment, but staying close. “God doesn’t always heal our diseases. He frequently uses our diseased state – or whatever other troubles we might have in life – to get us trusting more so that the watching world can see that and then (think), ‘Wow, that’s some God he has because look at the way he’s going through these difficult times!’” Either way, Bill says God will get the glory.

God allowed things to improve

Just recently, after much prayer about the pros and cons, Bill was approved for a medical treatment called Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), where small holes are drilled into his skull and electrodes are placed deep in his brain. This is a delicate operation. “They’ve got about a millimeter of room for error in there.” The operation at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center was successful. Now a battery pack consistently sends 1.6 volts of electrical charge directly to his brain. 

The results of the DBS operation have been remarkable. Bill explains it’s not a Parkinson’s cure, but a “reprieve.” Bill says his wife, LuAnn, has “got her husband back, for the time being at least.” As for improvement? Bill can once again strum a guitar and his voice is stronger. “I can walk normally. I’m actually playing tennis.” He was playing racquetball until the pandemic forced closures. He’s also become a fan of a game called “Pickleball,” the “fastest growing sport in America.” 

We invite you to listen to our full interview with Bill Ragle as he transparently shares about his struggle and his still growing faith in Jesus Christ.

Dr. Ragle rests in the recovery room after his operation
[Photo Credit: Cedarville University] Dr. Ragle rests in the recovery room after his operation