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Rexburg business owner honors grandfather for World Parkinson’s Day

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REXBURG — When Chloe Royce opened her teeth-whitening business in Rexburg, she wanted to give it a name that meant something to her. “Poppy Teeth Whitening” was the perfect fit, honoring Royce’s grandfather, who had been a significant influence on her life.

“He introduced me to lots of my loves,” says Royce of her grandfather, Mark Whitemyer of Nampa. Those loves included music and performing arts, and Royce cherishes the times spent with her grandfather watching old musicals and listening to songs they both loved.

For about 13 years, 71-year-old Whitemyer has been battling Parkinson’s Disease. To honor her grandpa, Royce decided to donate 20% of her proceeds from April 4 to 11 to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, in celebration of World Parkinson’s Day on April 11.

According to the organization’s website, “Parkinson’s disease (PD) occurs when brain cells that make dopamine, a chemical that coordinates movement, stop working or die. … The Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease through an aggressively funded research agenda and to ensuring the development of improved therapies for those living with Parkinson’s today.”

Whitemyer, a father to seven and a grandfather to 24, was a chiropractor for many years and physically active for as long as he was able. Royce says Whitemyer was a triathlete, and especially loved swimming because “he felt very light” in the water.

Royce says Whitemyer has had to slow down over the last few years, but he’s still in good spirits. His wife of 49 years, Kim, does her part to help.

“He and my grandma are cute,” Royce says. “They try to make each other laugh so he can smile.”

That smile was one of the reasons the name Poppy was perfect for a business that was all about smiles.

“When I think about smiles, he’s the first thing that comes to mind,” Royce says. “He has always had this gift of optimism and seeing the good in people. Despite challenges, he has had this attitude of gratitude — a very thankful heart. He’s very kind and patient, smiling through it all.”

For more information on Poppy Teeth Whitening and its campaign to celebrate World Parkinson’s Day, visit the business on its website, Facebook or Instagram.

Chloe Royce
Chloe Royce is the owner of Poppy Teeth Whitening at 36 Carlson Ave., Rexburg. The business is lovingly named after her grandfather. | Courtesy photo
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