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Letter from the Executive Director

Robin ElliottDear Friends:

In the introductory notes that I write for each quarterly newsletter, I try to identify common themes that thread through our various articles. In this issue, the theme is rather clear … and reflects a central commitment that PDF makes to the people we serve. The theme is “improving the lives and futures of people touched by Parkinson’s.”

Such a broad theme of course plays out in many different ways. It is evident in our lead article on the subject of how people with Parkinson’s can ease one of life’s most stressful experiences: the hospital stay. Private foundations in countries around the world — including those in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and the United States — have made this issue a high priority of their advocacy programs.

The same theme is evident in a thoughtful piece, authored by Ms. Kapust and Dr. O'Connor, on the issue of when a person with Parkinson’s can continue to drive safely and when he or she should consider leaving the driving to others. Doctors and people with PD alike tell us that for many families, this can be one of the toughest challenges, and meeting it is one of the most important things we can do in the cause of improving lives.

In a very different way, the people we call PDF Research Advocates — women and men who receive training through PDF’s Parkinson’s Advocates in Research (PAIR) program — also improve lives, their own as well as the lives of others, by serving as lay ambassadors for research, the highway to new treatments. And now you can join them by taking our online course.

We would be remiss if we did not mention that the improving lives theme is inherent also in National Family Caregivers Month, coming up in November, to which we pay tribute in our events section. Care partners of people with Parkinson’s work hard each and every day to improve the lives of their loved ones. It is our responsibility to improve theirs by offering support services.

Perhaps the most personal of these vignettes of improving lives and futures is the story of Page Morton Black, PDF’s long-time Chairman who recently retired from the Board after more than 35 years of outstanding service. We reprint a selection of the tribute that was sent to her recently by our Board. In all that she has done to support our work — the people she inspired, the Board she helped build and the millions of dollars she raised — Page did indeed improve lives — the lives of us all.

Best wishes for a healthy, happy and productive fall season.

Robin Anthony Elliott
Executive Director

Next in Fall 2012 News & Review: In Our Inbox