That is when my husband John and I decided to attend the World Parkinson’s Congress 2013. Given the fact that it only happens once every three years, it’s the single largest worldwide gathering of all stakeholders in the Parkinson’s field, and we missed it the last go around — we weren’t going to let that happen again.
We’ve been receiving information from the organizers consistently ever since. Which certainly goes a long way to building excitement and momentum as the Opening Day draws near. We even signed up for the buddy program and were paired with another husband/wife team from Australia, Andy and Kate McDowell, who we are excited to meet this evening. More about that tomorrow.
I can’t tell you the joy I felt when running into one of my “tribe” as I affectionately have dubbed all those PWP and other Advocates that I have had the pleasure of getting to know. When we got off the plane in Montreal and were standing in front of the ATM, who do I run into but Carey Christensen, another PAN Advocate and PDF supporter from the state of Washington.
Part of me feels like a kid in a candy store. I want to taste everything but know if I put every piece of chocolate I see and covet into my mouth, I will end up with a gigantic stomach ache. So the dilemma is always the same: how do you choose? Scouring through the program, extracts, speaker bios, poster presentations and vendor booth descriptions becomes an exercise in whittling down an overwhelming pile of data to a manageable “taste”. But oh, what a delicious taste it is!
We chose Course III: Science & Advocacy with the entire day filled with pertinent and up-to-date information that both of us are interested in hearing more about. What’s in the pipeline? How does imaging further inform our understanding of the progression of PD and hopefully to one day stop the progression? What is the Next Blockbuster Drug? (A PDF-led session!). Why is it taking So long and What can be done about it? All good questions … I’m psyched. It’s only the first day and the journey begins for all of us … Stay tuned.
Robin Katsaros is a PDF Research Advocate from San Francisco, CA. She is one of PDF’s roving reporters this week at the World Parkinson Congress 2013 in Montreal, Canada. Find out more about her and other reporters here.