As we enter the last week of Parkinson’s awareness month (April!), I have to ask;
what are YOU doing to draw awareness to this disease?
I had an interesting discussion with a colleague who attended the World Parkinson Congress in Montreal last October. His area of focus is self-care and chronic disease management and it was his first time being part of a Parkinson’s conference/event. When I asked him about his experiences at the conference, his thoughts were centred around the question “how do we get people with Parkinson’s involved?”
… Here’s how he sees it:
We have the researchers, scientists and clinicians, who get people with PD involved by becoming participants in research projects. And although it is dedicating your time, and usually body, it may still be considered “passive involvement“.
Then, you have the therapists, who get people with PD involved by involving them in physical, social and other therapies.
Then we ADVOCACY and SELF-CARE/MANAGEMENT. This is often where non-profits (like Parkinson Society Canada, National Parkinson Foundation, Parkinson’s disease Foundation) fit. Advocacy is the active support of a cause, or “getting involved” “to do something about it”. Advocacy can be subtle and personal, or obvious and public. However you get involved, the work of every PD advocate strengthens the voice of the entire PD community and makes a better future possible.
- Be vocal by increasing awareness of PD by educating others and encouraging those in your community to join your cause.
- Share support by talking to others about PD. Maybe join a support group, message board or social networking community.
- Volunteering is a good way to impact your own life and the lives of others.
- Get political with The Parkinson’s Action Network (PAN), which is a US-based grassroots network that serves as the unified voice of the PD community on public policy issues.
- Fundraise to raise awareness and research funds, or donate your own time/money.
… So, HOW DO YOU ADVOCATE FOR PEOPLE WITH PARKINSON’S DISEASE?