https://pdacrossamerica.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Screen-Shot-2022-06-30-at-2.51.04-PM.png 956 1126 satucker https://pdacrossamerica.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/paa-logo-1.png satucker2022-06-30 14:50:092022-06-30 14:51:27Leg 1 Update
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Day 2 – Parkinson’s Across America is at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Go Gators! We had the privilege of meeting with Dr. Michael Okun, the Executive Director of the Norman Fixel Institute for Neurological Diseases, Chair of the Department of Neurology at the University of Florida and Chief Medical Advisor to the Parkinson’s Foundation. Dr. Okun emphasized the need for the Parkinson’s community around the world to work together toward finding a cure and challenged Parkinson’s Across America to become Parkinson’s Across the Globe.
In addition to Dr. Okun, we met Amanda Fessenden, the University’s coordinator of its activities as a Parkinson’s Foundation-designated Center of Excellence, Dr. Nita Chen, a Movement Disorder Fellow, and Nicole Herndon, a speech and swallow specialist, all part of the incredible team of professionals who make the University of Florida one of the premier institutions providing for the care and treatment of people living with Parkinson’s disease.
Thank you to Dr. Okun and his team for their words of encouragement and hope. We also are extremely grateful to Anna Shavers, Assistant Director of Communications at the Fixel Institute, for her hospitality and orchestrating our visit.
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All we can say is “Wow”! Parkinson’s Across America is finally on the road and what better place to begin than The Villages, Florida, America’s largest retirement community.
Thanks to Rose Lang, the Communications Director of the Parkinson’s Support Groups in the Villages community, we were greeted by an enthusiastic crowd of almost 100 residents who are living with Parkinson’s disease and their care partners. After a presentation on Living Well With Parkinson’s, members of the Parkinson’s support groups shared incredibly personal and heartwarming stories about their own journeys with PD. We were truly inspired by each person’s willingness to share their story, but always with a view to finding hope and providing encouragement to others through their personal experience with Parkinson’s disease.
We also met Bernie Fitzgerald, the owner of SeniorHelpers of The Villages, Volusia County, Palm Coast and St. Augustine. SeniorHelpers is a national in-home senior care agency, with a particular focus on providing care to families whose lives have been touched by Parkinson’s disease. Bernie explained that “SeniorHelpers’ goal is to help their clients to age in their own home with grace and dignity.”
We are truly grateful to Rose and the members of the Parkinson’s support group in the Villages community and to Bernie Fitzgerald and his colleague Crissie who made our first day on the road such an incredible success.