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Why Should You Come to the WPC?

As the date for the World Parkinson Congress (WPC) approaches (February 22-26, 2006, in Washington, DC), you may be wondering why you, as a person who lives with Parkinson's disease, should be interested in attending a scientific conference. The answer is that it is not just a regular, run-of-the-mill scientific conference. It is much, much more: a forum for cutting-edge science, yes, but also a gathering among all sectors of the Parkinson's world - doctors, researchers, allied health professionals, caregivers and people with Parkinson's. It will truly be a "meeting of the minds" for all who make up our community.

The Congress will feature an extensive program of plenary sessions, symposia and workshops with presentations and discussions devoted to established and best treatment options, quality-of-life and care delivery issues and the latest scientific research from around the world. And for the first time, people who live with Parkinson's will be invited to join together with the experts to discuss the current state of PD. Your presence will also add great value to the WPC, as you help to educate these professionals by providing a clearer picture of what it is like to live with the disease and its symptoms on a day-to-day basis.

"The goal for this Congress is to bring everyone, from patients to scientists, to the table," said Dr. Stanley Fahn, Chair of the Congress and PDF Scientific Director. "The most effective way to combat this disease and to help people who have it is to understand every aspect of it, and that will only happen when people with Parkinson's, doctors, scientists, caregivers and health professionals come together and share their ideas and experiences."

In more than 50 scheduled workshops, attendees will be able to learn about such topics as stem-cell research, clinical trials, coping skills, insurance issues and how to afford family care. Community leaders - some of them people with Parkinson's - will lead discussions of how to manage Parkinson's disease, how to help your children grow up with a parent who lives with a chronic disease and how to become a force for health policy change. You will also learn how you can contribute to your treatment and well-being with physical therapy, nutrition, positive thinking, art and various kinds of exercise.

One of the event's most original features will be Creativity and Parkinson's, a showcase for works of art created entirely by people with PD. This feature will include the performing arts, visual arts and new media arts. It will examine the role that creativity can play in the life of a person with Parkinson's and how the disease has affected their creativity or their ability to express it. The various workshops will provide insight and tips on how to optimally treat Parkinson's and achieve the highest quality of life. Perhaps the most important opportunity for people with Parkinson's at the WPC will be the chance to come together and learn from hundreds of other people who live with the disease and who understand what you are going through. Be a part of what will in effect be a global "support group" and enjoy the camaraderie and sense of unity that can develop from such interaction.

The WPC organizers recognize that conferences are exhausting for anyone, especially someone who lives with Parkinson's disease. To address this concern, they have arranged for a "Renewal Room," sponsored by New Rhythms Foundation, an organization that works to promote a dynamic model for wellness and unity. Activities will include rejuvenating massages, tai chi, yoga, meditation, dance and movement and much more, giving the participants the opportunity to relax and re-charge their energy.

If you or someone you love has PD, or if you are caring for a person who has Parkinson's, consider making plans to attend this first-ever World Parkinson Congress and learn about the latest in science, treatments and care. You will not want to miss this opportunity to improve your quality of life and make a personal contribution in the global effort towards conquering this devastating disease.

We realize that the costs of attending a conference, including hotel and travel, can be beyond the average budget. This is why the congress organizers have worked to keep costs down for patients and caregivers, with a registration fee - for all four days - of only $100. Rooms have been reserved for attendees who book by January 23, 2006; visit www.worldPDcongress.org for more information. For low budget housing options, contact Regina Mohr at rmohr@courtesyassoc.com.