The Power of Self in Parkinson’s: Q&A with Diane Cook

Diane CookAre people newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s finding the right support? Many people, when first diagnosed with Parkinson’s, are given little guidance on facing life with a chronic progressive disease. And that diagnosis is life changing — it entails changes to health, relationships, family life, employment and finances.

Diane Cook, a member of the PDF People with Parkinson’s Advisory Council, is passionate about changing this. She wants to support the newly diagnosed so they can begin their PD journey on the right foot.

Over the past few years, she has developed a program called PD SELF. It provides tools and information to the newly diagnosed, and asks them to learn “self-efficacy” — to tap into their personal power to manage their PD and improve their health and well-being.

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Happy Hour to Help PD Research: Q&A with Stephanie Goldman-Pittel

From left to right: Amy Sole, Doug Stern and Stephanie Goldman-Pittel at their 2014 Tequila & Tapas

From left to right: Amy Sole, Doug Stern and Stephanie Goldman-Pittel at their 2014 Tequila & Tapas. Photo Credit: BC the Mag

What’s the recipe for success when it comes to fundraising for PD? For PDF Board Member Stephanie Goldman-Pittel and friends Amy Sole and Doug Stern, it’s simple: turn happy hour into helping hour.

In 2014, the trio created a local PDF Helping Hours, inviting friends and family for cocktails at Harvest Bistro in Closter, NJ, to raise funds for PDF. Over the years, their thematic events — tequila and tapas in their first year, and a vodka tasting in year two — have raised more than $47,000 for PDF research programs. The group will gather on Thursday, March 3, for this year’s Martinis and Bellinis, their third annual event.

What’s the secret to their success? In this interview, Stephanie shares tips and tells us why the Parkinson’s cause is so important to their group.

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Managing Meds in PD: Visiting Nurse Notes with Dr. Ju Young Shin

shin_ju_young_safranursingAre there steps a person with Parkinson’s can take to live better with the disease? Yes, according to Ju Young Shin, Ph.D., A.P.R.N., A.N.P-C., an alumni of The Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program (EJS-VNF) at the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF).

She has spent her career answering that question to help her patients to live better. After undergoing the EJS-VNF program at PDF in 2013, she turned her attention to Parkinson’s disease (PD). Now she’s conducting research into helping people with PD take charge, and live better through simple everyday means, like managing medications. Here’s our interview with her.

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Weighing in on Weight Management in PD

ScaleHave you noticed any changes in your weight due to Parkinson’s disease? You are not alone.

It is critical for all of us to maintain a healthy weight. For people with Parkinson’s disease, this might be more difficult to do because of PD symptoms or medications.

As January is National Healthy Weight Awareness Month, our team wanted to bring awareness to the issue of weight management in Parkinson’s disease.

Here are a few little-known facts:

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Finding Inspiration in the Forest & the Trees: Q&A with Artist Michael Abbott

When Michael Abbott of Panama City Beach, FL, looks at the woods surrounding the river near his home, he doesn’t just see trees. He sees his next creation.

Autumn Bliss by Michael Abbott

After his diagnosis of young onset Parkinson’s in 2004, the retired firefighter and former US Marine started making sculptures of trees using old copper wires. He has since found it to be a therapeutic outlet.  Recently, one of his sculptures entitled, “Autumn Bliss” (pictured at left) was selected to appear in PDF’s 2016 Creativity and Parkinson’s Calendar for the month of February.

Find out how creativity has impacted Michael’s life and what it means to him to share his artwork with the PD community.

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Just Around the Corner to the Light of Day Concerts for PD

Bob Benjamin

PDF President Robin Elliott with Bob Benjamin (second from left) and Light of Day Foundation board members at 2014 Billboard Touring Awards.

This past weekend, the Light of Day Foundation kicked off its Winterfest concerts in Asbury Park, NJ, with proceeds benefitting Parkinson’s disease research, including the programs of PDF. Are you near New York, New Jersey or Philadelphia, PA? There’s still time to enjoy great music at the Winterfest (the concerts run until Monday, January 18), while supporting Parkinson’s research.

The concerts are in the 20th year, thanks to PDF’s longtime friend Bob Benjamin, who founded Light of Day back in 1996. Back then, shortly after Bob’s own diagnosis of young-onset PD, he threw a 40th birthday concert with friends and asked everyone to donate to PDF. He came to name the shows “Light of Day,” after Bruce Springsteen’s song of the same name, the lyrics of which reflect finding happiness through difficult circumstances.

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