Peppers continues to raise Parkinson's awareness, watch weather

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Rob Peppers admits he's still drawn to storm clouds.

"It's tempting to go out and chase, but I know better than that," he says.

Peppers spent 19 years on the WIBW-TV airwaves as a meteorologist before Parkinson's Disease forced him to make a difficult decision to take his talents off-camera.

Diagnosed in 1995 at the age of 29, Peppers hasn't been shy about giving a public face to the disease.

"Getting the diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease is not the end of the world," he said. "You can still function. Your life is going to change and you'll have to adapt to those changes."

Moving to a position in the WIBW-TV business office - a job he still holds today - is one way Peppers adapted.

"I try not to focus on the frustrations. There are so many of them day to day, hour to hour, even minute by minute, that I just try to focus on the positive," he said.

Peppers has had many positives over the years. He's married, and has co-authored two children's books with his wife, Catherine.

The electrodes he had implanted in his brain in 2002 to control symptoms - a surgery he shared with 13 NEWS viewers - continue to help, he says, along with medications.

"I've had some ups and downs but, for the most part, I'm doing well," he said. "I'm still able to work full time which is important because it gets me out of bed in the morning and I'm still able to go and do activities with my family and friends."

While Peppers says leaving his on-camera role was rough, he doesn't miss getting up at 2 a.m. He wants others living with Parkinson's to know there's reason to hope for sunny skies ahead.

"There are a lot of good people out there, scientists, doctors, researchers who are looking for a cure," he said. "It's a difficult disease and it's hard to live with day to day, but if you keep your head up and keep walking forward, you'll be fine."

Peppers says he attends a Parkinson's support group that meets the first Thursday of each month. He invites anyone interested in learning more about it to contact him at WIBW-TV, 785-272-6397 or rob.peppers@wibw.com.