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Foundation Offers Hope for Coping with Parkinson’s Disease

Each year, approximately 60,000 new cases of Parkinson’s disease are reported in the U.S., and an estimated 1 million individuals currently have this chronic and progressive disorder. Characterized by such symptoms as slowed movement, balance problems, muscle rigidity, tremors, and involuntary movements.

While Parkinson’s disease can strike at any time, most individuals are diagnosed in their senior years. Unfortunately, Parkinson’s symptoms can compound the motor and balance problems often faced by individuals as they age.

There is no cure yet for this disease, but significant treatment advances are being made. One organization at the forefront of the fight against Parkinson’s disease is the Davis Phinney Foundation. Over the past decade, this foundation has provided almost $4 million in funding to various initiatives to combat the disease and support affected individuals and their families. This figure includes over $2 million in funding for research efforts, with a focus on factors that affect the quality of life for individuals with Parkinson’s disease.

Founder Davis Phinney has a remarkable story to share. An award-winning cyclist, Phinney received an Olympic bronze medal and won several Tour de France stages. Before his retirement, he had achieved the most victories of any cyclist in U.S. history. Shortly after his retirement from the sport, he was diagnosed with an early-onset form of Parkinson’s disease. Since that time, he has dedicated his personal and professional efforts toward developing resources to help others, in his words, “life well with Parkinson’s.”

If you or someone you love has Parkinson’s disease, I encourage you to go to the Davis Phinney Foundation website and check out the many free resource materials provided by this organization. They include:

  • The Victory Summit symposia series – These conferences are designed to offer individuals with Parkinson’s and their families helpful tools and information for living well with the disease. Symposia are offered around the country and are free to participants. The next upcoming symposium will be held in Las Vegas on Saturday, February 7, and registrations are still being accepted. The agenda includes an information-packed plenary session, “Parkinson’s 101,” as well as numerous break-out sessions with nationally recognized professionals in the movement disorder field.

  • The Every Victory Counts manual for living well – A detailed self-care manual for individuals living with Parkinson’s disease, this free publication features over 50 individuals with Parkinson’s who share their own insights and tips, as well as contributions from professional experts around the country.

  • The Living Well Challenge educational webinars – This online series features presentations by various experts in movement disorders. Videos of these presentations are available on demand. The current webinar, “Parkinson’s Research Update: Marching Upward and Onward,” features Baylor College of Medicine’s Dr. Joohi Jimenez-Shahed, as she reviews the current state of research in Parkinson’s disease and its implications for future treatment.

  • The Parkinson’s Exercise Essentials DVD – “Getting Started, Staying Motivated, Seeing Results” – the title says it all. This video, developed by the foundation, includes a variety of workouts that can be used at any fitness level and performed in a variety of settings, from a fitness center to at home.

Additional information on each of these resources, including registration or ordering information, is available at the foundation website.

We all look forward to a cure for Parkinson’s disease, but until that day comes, it is encouraging to know that dedicated and inspirational individuals and organizations like Davis Phinney and his foundation are giving people the tools to live well with the disease today.

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