The Power of the Pen Against Parkinson’s

“Parkinson’s disease is a mimic. It is also a snowflake; no two incidents being identical in symptoms,” writes Gil Thelen, a PDF Research Advocate and longtime newspaper editor from Tampa, FL.

With these words, printed last week as part of his Op-Ed, Mr. Thelen has proven how powerful a tool the pen can be in the fight against Parkinson’s.

Mr. Thelen wrote the Op-Ed about his experience living with Parkinson’s and the ways people in his community could get involved this April, during Parkinson’s Awareness Month. The column was published in several outlets across the region, including the Tampa Bay Tribune and Miami Herald.

The result? Readers from those communities learned about Parkinson’s disease and its impact in a very powerful way — from someone living with it. Not only that, readers learned that there is a place turn for support and answers. In fact, several individuals contacted PDF’s HelpLine after reading his article, and were inspired to get informed and get involved.

By putting PD in the local paper, you too can help spread the word about Parkinson’s in your own community and share resources that can help others living with PD. Your story can also inspire others to help make a difference for Parkinson’s Awareness Month.

So how do you begin? Here are a few tips for writing your own letter to the editor:

  • Keep it Short and Sweet: Use PDF’s template here as a guide.
  • Make It Personal: No one can tell your story about Parkinson’s better than you. Your perspective matters and gives people a powerful lens through which to view PD.
  • Include Facts and Figures: Provide context about Parkinson’s disease. Feel free to cite PDF’s facts and statistics, which can be found in our FAQ fact sheet here or on our website here.
  • Give Readers an Action: If your neighbors want more information, tell them what they can do next. Share PDF’s website,, our toll-free HelpLine, (800) 457-6676 or, or contact information for your local PD support group.

What do you think? Have you ever shared your PD story in a local paper? How would it help your community? Share your thoughts below.

Find tips for putting PD in your local paper online here, as part of the PDF publication, Awareness Advice from the Pros: A Toolkit for and by the Parkinson’s Community.

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