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World Parkinson Congress 2013 Opening Ceremony

WPC opening was "inspirational, moving and surprising"

The Parkinson's Disease Foundation (PDF) is at the World Parkinson Congress in Montreal, Canada this week. PDF helped lay the groundwork for the World Parkinson Coalition in 2004 and is now a WPC 2013 Silver Sponsor. The WPC 2013 has 166 partner Parkinson's organizations from 44 countries. Read an update below about the opening ceremony from the World Parkinson Coalition and Parkinson Society Canada.

From World Parkinson Coalition:

"Where the movers and shakers OF Parkinson's meet the movers and shakers WITH Parkinson's"

Montreal, October 1, 2013 - The third triennial World Parkinson Congress (WPC) welcomed attendees today at the official opening in Montreal.

Kim Elmslie, Assistant Deputy Minister of the Health, Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention Branch of the Public Health Agency of Canada and Dr. Stanley Fahn, the co-chair of the World Parkinson Congress, spoke to the excitement generated by the WPC and why it matters to the community.

"This congress is about community and hope, but also reuniting everyone involved in Parkinson's," said Bob Kuhn, WPC Ambassador and person with Parkinson's in his welcoming address. "Being in Glasgow, three years ago, I had, for the first time, the sense that Parkinson's is a global community. The biggest difference between illness and wellness is that illness starts with the word "I" and wellness starts with the word "we". "We" is the future — we are the future. What we are doing today will be the future, and it is bright and positive."

WPC Ambassador, Alice Templin is very hopeful about the outcome of this congress. "The whole congress is about all the little pieces that are going to find a way to mesh together. A global conversation will happen here — scientists will talk with people with Parkinson's, researchers with caregivers. From volunteers to the most renowned scientists, everyone is working together in the same direction, and with the same enthusiasm. Everyone owns this congress with the same spirit, and for the same purpose."

In one of the surprises of the evening, Tim Hague, winner of the 2013 Amazing Race Canada, likened his race experience to his Parkinson's. "The one word that I came away with is perseverance. You never know where the next bit of luck is going to come from, what the next good thing is going to be. You can't give up. You have to persevere. Many thousands of people are putting their time and their energy into trying to find a cure and making life better for people with Parkinson's. A massive number of people are behind us, so don't give up"

The evening was filled with emotions and hope, including the impassioned speech of Daniel Bissonnette, Montreal Film Commissioner, who shared his devotion to his wife who has had Parkinson's since they first met 14 years ago, and described the journey of adjustment to each new challenge as a loving caregiver.

The winner of the WPC Video Competition and the People Choice's Awards went to the same participant, Andy McDowell from Auckland, New Zealand, for his moving short film "Smaller", an animated version of a poem he wrote for his children to explain what Parkinson's disease is — McDowell was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2009 at age 43.

The opening ceremony concluded with the announcement by Dr. Jon Stoessl that the next edition of the World Parkinson Congress will be held in Portland, Oregon, in 2016.

After the ceremony, guests moved to the Exhibit Hall where hundreds of posters and exhibits were on display. A flash mob, initiated by Irish Parkinson's choir "Voices of Hope", engaged hundreds of people from around the world singing "Something Inside So Strong".

"Managing Parkinson's disease can be overwhelming and because the symptoms are so unpredictable, people can lose their confidence and they can lose their voice in the world," said Margaret Mullarney, founder of Move4Parkinson's, and a member of the WPC Communications Committee. "The choir is about giving people with Parkinson's their voice back. This congress, similarly to the choir, brings a sense of community, a place where people can be themselves, where everyone speaks the same language. We are one voice and we need to be heard."

The WPC continues at the Palais des congrès until Friday October 4th, 6 PM.

About Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson's disease is a progressive brain disease that affects one in every 300 adults and approximately seven to 10 million people worldwide. In Canada, there are over 100,000 Canadians with Parkinson's, according to the Parkinson Society Canada. Parkinson's is caused by a loss of dopamine in the brain — the symptoms occur when dopamine-producing cells die. Over time, individuals may experience a decreased ability to walk, talk, and swallow. It is estimated that 80 per cent of people with Parkinson's disease will eventually develop dementia.

About World Parkinson Coalition
The World Parkinson Coalition Inc. is a New York-based charitable organization dedicated to providing an international forum for the latest scientific discoveries, medical practices and caregiver initiatives related to Parkinson's disease. By bringing physicians, scientists, allied health professionals, caregivers and people with Parkinson's together, WPC Inc. hopes to create a worldwide dialogue to expedite the discovery of a cure and best treatment practices for this devastating disease. For more information:

Parkinson Society Canada Hosts the World at WPC 2013
Parkinson Society Canada is the national voice of Canadians living with Parkinson's disease. A charitable organization founded in 1965, its vision is a better life with a brighter future for Canadians living with Parkinson's today, a world without Parkinson's tomorrow. Parkinson Society Canada, with a network of partners including Parkinson Society Québec, funds discovery research and provides education, support, and advocacy on behalf of over 100,000 Canadians living with Parkinson's. For more information:


Source Date: Oct 02 2013