Battling Bruin: Roger

Posted September 2014

Twelve years after he graduated from UCLA, Roger Todd was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. With deteriorating vision, he began the slow process to take control of the disease by carefully watching his diet and trying various medications. Daily blood tests and semi-annual hemoglobin A1c test became routine. Weight loss and watching his sugar intake paid off. Roger can thankfully say that neither his fifty year battle with diabetes nor his career with Lockheed International ever kept him away from his beloved Bruins.

Living abroad for 35 years in Hong Kong, Beirut, Kuwait, Bahrain, Paris, Ankara, Turkey, Brussels, Riyadh and Jeddah Saudi Arabia, Roger and his wife, Mary Martha Tramill, a UCLA alumna herself, continued to support UCLA and would travel back regularly to the United States to attend away football games with other alumni couples. Retired and living in Monterey, CA for the past 20 years, Roger maintains his friendships with his Sigma Nu brothers and other UCLA classmates. The Todd’s continue their avid support and love of UCLA and Bruin athletics. (Did we mention that Roger earned his M.B.A. at that other school across town?)

Little did Roger know that, when he began supporting the New England Ride for Parkinson’s at its inception in 2008, what significance it would eventually be in his life. This annual cycling event raises money for Parkinson’s research and 100% of the funds are donated to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for their continued work to combat this debilitating disease. The New England Ride for Parkinson’s is the second largest contributor to the Fox Foundation.

In April 2014, Roger’s big battle hit – he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. “The jerking movements of Michael J. Fox came into my conscious view. I knew it was not curable and with time, it only becomes worse.” After the initial shock, Roger went through a period of denial followed by the realization that, at age 85, he had been spared the agony of those who begin showing the signs of Parkinson’s much earlier in life. (A founder of the New England Ride for Parkinson’s was diagnosed at age 41 and Michael J. Fox was diagnosed at age 30.) Roger is currently trying an array of medicines to minimize the symptoms. Through his association with the founders of the New England Ride for Parkinson’s, he has learned quite a bit of what to expect. “High on the list we know is to maintain a positive attitude. Don’t let it get you down mentally.” Roger also explains that “it helps when your wife is as positive as she is in dealing with me”.

Roger successfully battled through diabetes and the UCLA community sends their support as he begins his battle with Parkinson’s. The UCLA Spirit Squad is proud to present this month’s Battling Bruin, Roger Todd.

For more information about the New England Race for Parkinson’s and the Michael J. Fox Foundation, please visit their websites at and

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