For nearly 25 years, Tim Surkovich ’88 has suffered the effects of multiple sclerosis. A former technology teacher in the Hollidaysburg Area School District, Tim experienced numbness in limbs and extremities, loss of vision, and difficulty walking. When the symptoms became severe enough that he had to retire, Tim coped by putting his struggles into words. “I began journaling my life experiences, as kind of a therapeutic thing,” he said.
What Tim created were lyrics. His wife, Lisa Westrick Surkovich ’83, encouraged him to share them with his best friend, musician Randy Sciarrillo. By coincidence, Randy was part of a progressive rock band that was just forming and in need of direction. Inspired by Tim’s story, the band, known as Progmium, put his lyrics to music. The result is the CD Project Diagnosis, released last year. Seventy-five percent of the proceeds benefit multiple sclerosis research.
Even post-CD, Tim’s work to beat MS continues. He is in the process of forming the Project Diagnosis Foundation and is training for his second Bike MS, a two-day, 150-mile ride.
CD cover art for Progmium’s Project Diagnosis
Tim said the support of his family has been key. In addition to wife Lisa, his sons join in the effort: Kyle created artwork for the CD and other projects, Todd has ridden in Bike MS since age nine, and C. J. helps with marketing.
For more information, see the Project Diagnosis website.