With no running water and only a wood stove to heat his remote Quebec cabin, Mark Hogbein starts each morning with a fire and boiling lake water.
The 54-year-old then signs into TikTok to check out an analysis of his latest video and connect with a global community of friends online, many of whom, like him, suffer from Parkinson’s disease.
While TikTok is known for viral videos of Gen Z dance trends and comedy sketches, the former Montrealer says he’s surprised to see millions of views garnering views for self-shot clips of mundane chores, including chopping wood, Including fetching water and cleaning your fireplace.
But what caught the audience’s attention was the fact that he does it all with a neurodegenerative condition. He says the first video in which his phase three symptoms are clearly visible attracted the most viewers.
“I didn’t want to do a tiktok with my face in it because no matter how hard I try I don’t move, it’s going to come. After 200 videos, I made the first one where I talked and showed my face because I wanted to see it.” Wanted how it would perform analytically. I introduced myself, secretly hoping I wouldn’t get an idea. It got 2.7 million,” Hogbane says of the clip, in which he clearly explains his Do not reveal status.
“People recognized my Parkinson’s and started contacting me, asking me how I live remotely without any help and how long I’ve been in the bush. I’ve talked to people around the world who have had or So know anyone who has Parkinson’s or who.”
lifelong dream diagnosis
Hogbane says he moved to his island refuge on Quebec’s Lake Kipava about seven years ago, and has largely embraced solitude — save for the twice-daily uploads for his more than 164,000 online followers.
Hogbane previously spent 30 years in Montreal, where he worked for computer game publisher Gameloft. His wife still lives there and visits him in the summer with their two adult sons.
He recalls that in 2015 he was diagnosed with stage one Parkinson’s after experiencing unusual fatigue, joint pain and a tremor in his right pinky.
Disturbed by the initial symptoms, he says he moved to his cabin some 600 kilometers away to fulfill his lifelong dream of living on the lake. He also believed that the new lifestyle—which included spending time outside, regular exercise, and more independence, as suggested by his doctors—would help manage symptoms.
However, he also wanted to be alone.
“I’m very aware when I’m talking to someone and their gaze falls on my trembling hand. I know what’s going through their mind. In the beginning, I didn’t want any more sympathy.”
Today, they say that their Parkinson’s causes tremors, stiffness, lethargy, and loss of balance throughout the body. He can no longer tie shoelaces, so he doesn’t use any.
Hogbane says, “I wouldn’t recommend this life to people with Parkinson’s, but it has worked for me. From here on, I’ve been forced to be active and independent in order to survive. Doctors keep me doing the same thing.” says to what I am doing.” ,
The daily TikTok uploads and the online friends she makes have helped her through the dark winter months. He says making videos, responding to comments and checking his analysis keeps him creative and engaged, and helps him avoid boredom and loneliness.
He reevaluates distant life each September when he holds an annual neurological checkup in Montreal.
“I look at life like a canoe trip,” he says. “Sometimes, you don’t know where the portage is until you get there. I’ll keep doing it for as long as I can; I’ll figure it out when I get there tomorrow.”
His videos aren’t actually about Parkinson’s – as of March 30 he had only mentioned it twice since joining the video-sharing platform. But he says people with the disease find him on TikTok and that he welcomes private messages and conversations.
And they, along with his other followers, have been instrumental in helping him regain his trust.
“Once I was told I had Parkinson’s, I stopped worrying about it,” Hogbane says.
“Now, when someone sees me shaking at the grocery store, it doesn’t bother me. Thanks to TikTok, I’ve already got a million people trembling at me – another one isn’t going to matter “