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Letter from the Executive Director

Robin ElliottToo often, the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation® (PDF®) hears from people with Parkinson’s that they are portrayed as passive objects of the well-meant intentions of others — be they the doctors who treat us or the pharmaceutical companies that develop our treatments.

Important as these services certainly are, they are only part of the narrative of living with a chronic disease. The other part of the narrative is told by people with Parkinson’s themselves, who are the active subjects, reshaping their lifestyles to meet the challenges of Parkinson’s.

By creating art, pursuing exercise, organizing fundraising and awareness events, and becoming advocates for research, people who live with Parkinson’s take charge of their lives. They may not be able to end it, but they do everything within their power — through imagination, positive thinking and plain old guts — to influence the impact it has on their lives.

A striking example of this attitude comes around every April as we observe Parkinson’s Awareness Month. At this time, we are always impressed to see people who live with Parkinson’s demonstrating how the individual can make a difference. As one contribution to this process (see story here), PDF offers a toolkit providing 30 ways to raise awareness. Take advantage of these suggestions, and give us your feedback for our next edition!

There are other examples of this “take charge and make a difference” attitude in this edition of PDF News & Review. In one of these (see story here), Margaret Tennant tells us how a weekly visit to her physical therapist has broadened her horizons. In another example, our lead article provides suggestions on how you can choose the best doctor to accompany you or your loved one on the Parkinson’s journey. And then there is the inspiring example of Ivory Latta, the WNBA star who will be serving as PDF Champions Ambassador, our program to raise awareness and funds at the grassroots level. Ms. Latta’s father and grandmother live with Parkinson’s. Her theme is this: “I make a difference ... by encouraging others to join the fight!”

Not all of these activities are for everyone; as doctors tell us, each individual who is touched by Parkinson’s deals with the disease in his or her own way. But I do have to say that in my own observations over 16 years with PDF, I never cease to be amazed by the inspiring people with Parkinson’s and care partners who have taken charge and “made a difference” — in their own lives, and in their communities. They are the ones who move the cause forward for all of us, and for future generations.

How will you take charge and make a difference?  Let us know and tell us how we can help!

Robin Anthony Elliott
Executive Director