AFS Blog

Community in Action

Posted on April 18, 2019 | by Linda Albert
Community in Action

If there is one word that best describes the experience of attending the Neuro Challenge Foundation Parkinson’s EXPO, that word is community.

The word community can conjure a number of notions, such as a group of individuals that have something in common, or a shared sense of social ties that evokes mutual respect and support. Community may suggest the pooling of individual resources and talents for the benefit of all. There are comfort and a sense of empowerment in the notion that we are all in this together as we work toward a common goal. Nowhere is this more evident than in the work and network of the Neuro Challenge Foundation for Parkinson’s.

The goal of the EXPO is to EDUCATE, ENGAGE, and EMPOWER the Parkinson’s community, including individuals living with Parkinson’s, their caregivers and families, and physicians and health care personnel who interact with Parkinson’s patients. The EXPO program featured presentations by preeminent physicians and researchers in the field, sharing the latest developments in Parkinson’s disease and disease management.

Attendees had access to an abundance of information and resources related to Parkinson’s as the roster of exhibitors was varied and extensive – everything from home care resources and pharmaceutical companies to therapeutic exercise programs such as boxing and bicycling.

As the EXPO’s daylong event launched, the energy level among NCF staff, partners, volunteers (of all ages), and exhibitors was palpable. And as attendees arrived, trickling in at first, and then arriving in droves, the energy level shifted, morphing into something more akin to a reunion.

People knew people, welcomed and embraced each other. I had attended and blogged about last year’s EXPO and was pleased to greet the couple whose picture was featured in that blog. Another attendee was a woman I met last year who was contemplating moving here, far away from her family to get the support she needed for her Parkinson’s disease. I believe she has found ‘community.’ There was humor as well. My husband, who was distributing bottled water to arriving attendees, was dubbed “The Water Boy,” and he sported the title proudly as it was repeated time and again.

Neuro Challenge Foundation Parkinsons EXPOI was able to see firsthand how impactful the EXPO is when a gentleman approached asking why there weren’t more Parkinson’s related support services available in his area. He was clearly frustrated. Neuro Challenge Foundation personnel were immediately on hand to assure him services were indeed available, and that a Care Advisor would be following up with him to assess his needs and advise him of support options. I am certain this scenario played out countless times at the EXPO.

Attendance at the EXPO exceeded 1,300 participants. Events such as the EXPO not only educate, engage, and empower the Parkinson’s community, but inspire hope, hope for a better quality of life living with Parkinson’s and hope for a cure.

As Michael J. Fox said recently of his Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, “Our ultimate goal is to find a cure and go out of business.” Indeed.

For more information about the Neuro Challenge Foundation’s mission and services visit their website at https://www.parkinsonsneurochallenge.org/


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