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Person of the Week: Linda Morgan

By Larry Blunt

When you hear about Parkinsons disease, many of us think of actor Michael J. Fox. We've seen the tremors and stiffening joints it can cause, but there are symptoms not always so obvious.

When our Person of the Week was diagnosed with Parkinsons she took action. Ever since, she has been improving the lives of people not only locally but nationally, including at a world congress in Montreal.

When it's time to go work, Linda Morgan goes no farther than her living room.

She's a pharmacist, but when it got to difficult to work at the pharmacy, things changed. Beginning with a phone call seven years ago.

Linda Morgan, Person of the Week, "I was given my diagnosis over the phone. The physician called. It was a good day. It was in the morning. The kids were at school."

It was Parkinson's disease.

Wes Morgan, husband, "I think all of us had an emotional problem accepting this in the beginning."

It didn't take Linda long to get past acceptance to taking action, "I immediately went from how did it happen to what can I do."

A few weeks ago, she was invited to speak to doctors, researchers, and patients at the World Parkinson Congress in Montreal.

Robin Anthony Elliott, President, Parkinson's Disease Foundation, "it's a unique opportunity to present who you are and what you do to the world community."

For Linda, that means advocating for patient involvement in clinical research, "this seems so 'a, b, c' and so common sense but see the patient as part of the process."

She's been in a number of studies, founding and taking part in her first one only a month after she was diagnosed.

In Asheville, she began a support group for people with Parkinson's, all with a lot of questions and not enough answers.

Dealing with symptoms other than tremors, some that cannot always be seen, including depression.

For Dudley Culp, it was almost unbearable, "I mean I was suicidal. That's not who I am."

Bob Bryenton, Parkinson's patient, "I'm hanging out at home a lot. You know I'd rather go out but I didn't want to go out."

Just two members of a larger group that draws strength from each other.

She's someone who could have withdrawn or given up, but instead Linda Morgan is giving hope.

One of Linda's primary goals is to shorten the process of research and clinical trials which can sometimes take 10 years or more.

To learn more about Parkinson's, it's symptoms and research, visit the Parkinson's Disease Foundation's website.

View a Video Interview

Source Date: Oct 28 2013
Source Publication: WLOS News 13
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