Every time we doubt the internet has the power to heal, unite, and innovate, we hear a story like this one!
Jimmy Choi is an ultramarathoner and cyclist, a world record holder for push-ups and burpees, and a former American Ninja Warrior. He also happens to be living with Parkinson’s disease.
He was diagnosed with the brain disorder in 2003. Symptoms include involuntary shaking, muscle and joint stiffness, and problems with walking and swallowing, balance, and coordination. The condition gradually worsens over time, and there is currently no cure.
Since his diagnosis, Jimmy has become a motivational speaker and advocate for people with the disease. He often shares his struggles and challenges on TikTok, and in a recent video, he expressed his frustration with the packaging for the pills he needs to take. The clip shows his shaking hand trying to pinch a tiny pill from the container.
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“Hey Parma companies … get a clue!” Jimmy captioned the video. “Raising #parkinsons #awareness sorry, I get a little angry when I am struggling to move sometimes.”
Jimmy wasn’t the only one who was frustrated by the hard-to-reach pills. Fellow TikToker Brian Alldridge, a videographer for music videos, saw his post and immediately decided to do something to help Jimmy and everyone else who is dealing with this problem. He sat down at his computer and taught himself a 3D modeling software called Fusion 360. Within two days, Brian had designed a new medication bottle that isolates a single pill in a cylinder, which can then be tossed back “like a shot.”
Brian made his own TikTok video and offered his design free of charge to anyone with a 3D printer who would be willing to create a physical prototype. The response was overwhelming!
“I expected maybe one or two people to message me and subsequently back out when I couldn’t guarantee that the device would actually work,” Brian told Freethink. “Instead, I woke up to thousands of users offering to print the thing and even more telling of someone they knew that could benefit from it.”
The online community took it from there, printing out many versions of Brian’s design until they had a prototype to send to Jimmy. Jimmy was just as astounded by their support as Brian, and he gamely tested every version.
“I am still amazed and in awe how the community jumped into action,” Jimmy said. “I think the design is up to version 5, and I am now waiting to receive one of those.”
David Exler, an engineer who goes by “The Hungry Engineer” on TikTok, took over perfecting the bottle and set up a fundraiser so anyone in the U.S. can donate $5 to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. Once they do, David will send them a bottle to try out for themselves. The first shipment alone raised $250 for the foundation!
Brian is now working with a patent attorney to make sure his design is always free to the public. They hope to sell the bottles at a low cost and then donate one pill bottle to a nonprofit for every bottle sold.
The creators of this pill bottle now feel like there’s nothing they can’t accomplish with a little help from their community! “If you think of a way to improve the lives of others, there’s most likely a way to make it happen,” Brian said.
Talk about a group effort! All it took was one video to change the lives of countless people who are having the same issue with their medication. We’d call this the ultimate TikTok win!
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