Sunday, November 16, 2008

Traveling for a Cure

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Several things have happened to me in the past month, things that never would have happened before being diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. I launched a support group at the Fayette County hospital, in Vandalia, Illinois. It's not just for Parkinson's Disease but caregivers and anyone that would just like to talk and get information about neurological disorders. The first meeting was a month ago tomorrow and so I will venture back with my mind a buzz with places I have been and things I have learned.

One of the great people I met was David Zid from Columbus, Ohio. Oh , now if you ever get the chance to meet this man please go. David graduated from the University of Ohio and is a personal trainer and president of Columbus Health Works and co author of Delay the Disease. He was soon drawn into Parkinson's Disease through a newly diagnosed friend and from there he saves the world. If David didn't do anything but smile he would win the world over but he has devised a very simple no stress exercise program that you can do sitting down or with a chair. His program is Exercise and Parkinson's Disease and his Book is Delay the Disease, and it works on the idea that if muscles are not moved they will freeze and not be able to move. DAVID THINKS BIG. Big movements that start in small ways and over time the movement comes back. When you see his presentation he comes down off the stage and goes through the crowd and you can tell how much he loves what he does. He's not above lying on the floor or giving you a hug or just stopping the show and talking to you. He really cares!

I had met his dad in Atlanta, Georgia at the Young Onset Parkinson's Conference in August and was so surprised to see him again at Indianapolis, Indiana and realized that he was David's father. I was there for the Parkinson's Awareness Assn. of Central Indiana, Inc. attending their symposium and David's dad recognized me first and then it was on....What a wonderful family and the things they are doing for Parkinson's Disease are astronomical...

The next person I met that day was a tiny little gal making a difference....Kristy Follmar Executive Director of Rock Steady Boxing and a certified personal trainer. she began her career as an Indiana Golden gloves Women's Champ(1999, 2000) and first ever Women's Indiana State Champion and NABC Featherweight and Super Featherwight Champion (2002,2003) With this list of credentials, she is the sweetest, most down to earth little gal I have ever met. She takes people in their sixties, seventies and eighties and teaches them to box and love it. She brought with her two examples, a woman in her sixties and a gentleman in his late seventies and you should have seen them hit her glove as she yelled right, left, left right. They were the picture of self confidence and balance. These are two very important things to people with Parkinson's and two things that we usually have very little of.

As luck would have it, when I got to the Davis Phinney Victory Summit in Denver, Colorado, October 4th. Kristy and her personal trainer Bob Schaefer and I had a chance to really talk and exchange ideas on a cure and talk about some people with great idea within the Parkinson's Network, one being my friend Tom and the Loaner Closet for Needed Equipment.

As you can see I have found my passion through being faced with a debilitating disease. My daily trials are counterbalanced with possibilities for a cure and trough taking that passion to the street, awareness is raised. Parkinson's is no longer someone in the corner of the nursing home in a wheel chair sleeping. We are many strong fighting a disease that can strike you down in your teens and twenties as well as older. Will it take babies being diagnosed with this disease before we can find a cure?

2 comments:

Patient On-line said...

Pokie, I read the whole article, and I was struck by the wording of the phrase you used at the end about Parkinson's no longer being the forgotten person in the corner of the rest home. You have such a way of expressing your thoughts and it is inspirational and uplifting to me and others. I thank you for writing about such important issues and for recognizing David. The group you launched-- now that is special. I am behind you all the way. Patient On-line

Joanie Butler said...

You simply amaze me! You are going places and doing things that most "healthy" people would only dream about. And you are doing it with style, grace and determination. It is awesome all of the people that you are making contact with in the PD world. I am beginning to believe that singlehandedly you are going to be the force that brings the much needed national attention to our cause! From the bottom of my heart, "THANK YOU and ALL OF MY LOVE!"

Just, remember to keep it all in balance. A life out of balance will force you to get back into balance.

Today With PokieToo and Parkinson's and Acute RA Disease