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Parkinson's Quilt Displayed at Norwood Bank

By Brad Cole

For the third straight year, a block of a Parkinson's Quilt was displayed at Norwood Bank.

"In bringing the quilt, it's a very visible way to draw attention to and create awareness of Parkinson's disease. It's something I can do," said Jed Hickson, a Norwood resident who was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 1998.

Hickson is a research advocate with the Parkinson's Disease Foundation, a group that promotes Parkinson's disease research, education and public advocacy. They helped create the Parkinson's Quilt, a travelling quilt that raises awareness of the impact that the disease has on people living with Parkinson's. More than 600 people from 14 countries contributed a panel to the quilt.

"It's a quilt that travels the country," Christiana Rose of Norwood Bank said. "It represents different countries and different states. Our block has people from all over."

In total, there are 39 blocks to the Parkinson's Quilt. This year, Norwood Bank hosted block 10, which features pieces created by people affected by Parkinson's living in Australia, Montreal, Canada, Washington D.C. and San Diego, California.

"It's to promote awareness. We think it's a nice thing, and we try to give money to the community and towards things that affect people in our community," Rose said. "This is something that not only affects Mr. Hickson, but many people in our community."

Hickson first approached the bank in 2011 to see if the bank would host the quilt. They agreed, and every April, a block of the quilt makes it way to Norwood Bank for Parkinson's Awareness Month.

"It's important to share the Parkinson's Quilt and show others how Parkinson's disease affects everyone, from families, neighbors and caregivers, differently," Hickson said.

The Parkinson's Quilt was on display for two weeks. During that time, Hickson said he met one woman who recently had a family member diagnosed with the disease. This sort of meeting is common, he said.

"It's a disease that catches a lot of people," Hickson said. "People come up to me and say my mother, my father, my uncle has Parkinson's."

The quilt also helps raise awareness of the need for more studies and clinical research, Hickson said.

"I've been diagnosed for 15 years, and been very active in clinical research," Hickson said. "There are nearly 1 million Parkinson's patients in the United States. Less than one percent of those people are involved in clinical research, and research is the key to finding a cure. The biggest bottleneck is not so much funding, but getting people involved."

Hickson said there is a wide range of research being conducted on the disease, from drug trials to vision and cognitive research.

According to the Parkinson's Disease Foundation website, Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurological disorder that involves the malfunction and death of nerve cells in the brain. As the disease progresses, the amount of dopamine produced by the brain decreases, leading to the inability to control movement normally. The cause of the disease is unknown, and while treatments are available, there is no known cure.

For more information, visit PDF.org.

Source Date: May 08 2013
Source Publication: Norwood Transcript and Bulletin
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