By Chris Meng
President, Parkinson’s Support Center Board of Directors
Senior Investment Manager, Community Trust & Investment Company
For patients from Louisville to Southern Indiana to Lexington to Cincinnati, Parkinson’s has proven itself not to be a one-size-fits-all disease. April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month and a good time to learn more about the disease that is impacting so many of our friends and relatives. As we have learned through programs sponsored by the Parkinson’s Support Center in Louisville, exercise and education can be as helpful to patients as their medications are.
Take the case of Bill Reed, a Louisville businessman whose furniture manufacturing business in China requires untold hours of flight time between Louisville, China, Canada, Mexico and other spots around the globe. That would be a grueling schedule for anyone, but especially for Reed who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in November 2011.
When he’s not flying, Bill runs marathons for fun. In fact, it was his training for the Boston Marathon a few years ago that led to his discovery of Parkinson’s. Bill had injured his back just three weeks from race time, resulting in back surgery and a scrubbed run. After the surgery, Bill noticed slight tremors developing in his left hand. His surgeon wasn’t sure about what was going on, but he felt sure it was not related to the back surgery. The doctor referred Bill to a neurologist where he received his Parkinson’s diagnoses.
Not someone inclined to slow a busy schedule because of a Parkinson’s diagnosis, Bill and his wife, Dawn, discovered the Parkinson’s Support Center and everything it offers for patients and their caregivers, from on-site PD 101 awareness programs to a review course on how best to manage medications, and Fight Back with Fitness, a high-intensity exercise class. Bill is also active in a men’s support group called Movers and Shakers (just to show that Parkinson’s patients do retain their senses of humor).
“From the time I first attended the PD 101 class I have felt welcome and very comfortable at the Center,” Bill says.
The PD 101 class is taught at the Parkinson’s Support Center by Janet Greene, another Parkinson’s patient who, when not teaching others, can be found taking care of herself in yoga or spinning classes. The Lexington business leader who splits time between working at the Movement Disorders Clinic at the University of Kentucky Medical Center and the Parkinson’s Support Center in Louisville. Like Bill and so many others, Janet was diagnosed with Parkinson’s after noticing a tremor in her right hand. That was the only outwardly visible sign of the diagnoses to follow.
How can you help aid patients of Parkinson’s disease in Kentucky and southern Indiana? The one big fund raising event of the year — Denim & Diamonds — is coming up Friday, June 6 at the Marriott East Hotel near the interchange of I-64 and Hurstbourne Parkway. The first of these “un-galas” raised $30,000 and each event has been more successful than the previous.
This is a year of change at the Center as we move forward with a fresh perspective on the needs of valued clients, partners, and donors. As the region’s premier organization dedicated solely to supporting Parkinson’s patients, we know the task is great. That’s why there will be more Lunch & Learn classes this year. Also, we’ve launched “Thoughtful Thursdays” to bring individuals together to discuss new ideas and approaches to better living and healthier lives.
Want to learn more? We will hold an Open House on May 18 at the Center’s office in Middletown — 315 Townepark Circle, Suite 100.
In October, make plans to attend the Living Well with Parkinson’s Symposium and spend a day listening and interacting with experts from around the country discuss the latest findings in the war against Parkinson’s. More details will be available soon for the symposium.
A new Trivia Bowl fund-raiser will be coming up this September in Louisville. Watch for more details on that, too!
Read the entire article in The Voice Tribune!