Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month.
In simple terms, Parkinson’s is “a disease that attacks the brain’s delicate communication system and devastates its victims, their caregivers and their family members.”
Across the globe, this neurodegenerative disorder affects some seven to 10 million people. Official estimates suggest that 1.5 million people in America alone are suffering from Parkinson’s disease, and each year as many as 50,000 more are added to that list.
However, that number reflects only diagnosed cases of Parkinson’s. Many experts believe the number of affected individuals may actually be double that.
This year’s theme for the month of awareness is #KnowMorePD. Through various activities and outlets the Parkinson’s Foundation is seeking not only to raise awareness of the disease, but of all of the resources the organization offers to help make lives better for people with Parkinson’s and their families, particularly during these uncertain times.
There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease and no way to predict who may be its next victim. Whether you or someone you love has been touched by it, there is a good chance that at some point in your life you will know someone whose world, and the worlds of those who love them, have been unalterably changed by the disease.
Julie Gentz of Washington knows.
“I can tell you from personal experience that the heartache and devastation is causes is true.
On April 1, after a long and valiant battle, her 73-year-old husband, Brian, died of complications of the disease that he described as “insidious and cruel.”
“As a longtime care partner for my husband, I know that support for both the person diagnosed with Parkinson’s and their caregiver, is vital,” Julie Gentz said. “It’s important that people in the Parkinson’s community come together for support, education, and social connection.”
Two years ago, a support group for individuals and their caregivers was started in the Washington County area. Like so many other things, it went online during the pandemic. Now, with vaccines and more knowledge of how to control the spread of COVID-19, the group can once again begin to meet in person.
If Parkinson’s disease has become an uninvited part of your life and you would like the support of others who are fighting the same battle, contact Julie Gentz, the Southeast Iowa Parkinson’s Support Group facilitator either by text at 319-461-1403 or by emailing email@example.com for more information on meeting times and dates.
She said that everyone’s support of the many organizations working to find a cure for the disease is much appreciated.
“Together we can make a difference,” she said.