Young Parkinson's EMPOWERED! Please Support My Plan to Make a Difference
Hi everyone. It's time for my annual outreach to ask for your support of my Parkinson's Disease advocacy efforts. As most of you know, I was diagnosed with Young Onset PD (YOPD) back in 2008 at the age of 38 years old. Through self care, exercise, a phenomenal support system, and fabulous healthcare, I have been able to not just survive, but to thrive with the disease. In fact, my success with disease management might have you thinking, well PD isn't THAT bad.
The truth is that many are not as fortunate as I have been in my journey thus far. While I don’t tend to publicize my challenges, my path is not without its potholes, and could take a wrong turn at any moment. Parkinson's is a very complex disease with no two people's experience/symptoms being the same, making finding a cure difficult and treatment plans very customized.
And, you may be surprised to learn that it's prevalence is on the rise both across the board and exponentially in the young onset group (diagnosis at 50 years or earlier) A Blue Cross Blue Shield study released in October 2020 found that over the past five years, PD prevalence overall increased by 53% while YOPD increased 107%!!!
This, along with the current lack of relevant, convenient support for the Young Onset Community has motivated me to create my own non-profit, specifically targeted to address the unique needs of this group. Unlike their more typical, elderly counterparts with PD, this group is being diagnosed at the prime of their lives. Careers are taking off, they are getting married, having babies, driving carpools to soccer practice - and in the midst of it all the diagnosis comes that they have PD, an ‘old person’s disease’ that is neurodegenerative and has no cure.
This is a very scary place and one that I remember well. As you start to research, not only do you see images of old people in wheelchairs, but you see support and services that are only provided during the middle of the workday and are designed for the older population that is farther along in their progression. Certainly nothing that a young person recently diagnosed can relate to nor do they want to even think about. In the absence of convenient and relevant services most of the young diagnosed follow the path that I took which meant putting my disease in the closet for many years and charging on in isolation. My goal is to change all of that and to provide a place where the YOPD Community has relevant services and support systems provided at convenient times to meet their busy schedules that empower them to thrive with the condition.
My work is being supported by a generous community grant funded by the Parkinson’s Foundation. These grants are funded by the donations raised during the Moving Day events. So as you make your decision on whether to, or how much to donate this year I want you to know that your donation is directly supporting my efforts and others like me who are working to make a difference. We all hope for a cure in the near future and current research is optimistic. In the meantime my goal is to make those with YOPD today live better lives and thrive.
I am so fortunate to have family and friends like you around me to cheer me on. I want to take a minute to thank you for all of your support in the past and for your continued support in the future. Any donation amount is much appreciated!
For the Cause~