MAR 29, 2014 | by Darcy Blake | When I was a kid, I was a barker for a circus. Yes, I got it in my head one day that I would produce a magical extravaganza. Neighbor kids would catch wind of the event and they would flock to our house. It was a glorious creation in my mind. My 3 brothers would be the lions and tigers. We’d use our pet rats as circus animals, and maybe we could coax our cat to walk a tightrope on our fence. My sister would sell popcorn served in red striped bags. There would be other amusement stalls—equally fantastic—as soon as I could get some neighborhood volunteers to join us. Our neighbor had a full piggy bank that she was willing to donate towards production costs, that is until her mother came knocking on our door that evening to retrieve it. But the colorful dream of a circus was conceived and it was my initiation into the thrill of promotion.

That was followed by a campaign for high school president that I lost by 7 votes. But cheerleading took my mind off this loss until I could publicize the work of artists as exposure coordinator in a federally-funded program for artists in NYC.  The intrigue with salesmanship continued, when I worked on non-profit fundraisers in my years as a stay-at-home mom, and sold graphic design in my early adult years as a graphic designer. For many years, marketing has been a permanent part of my career, so as a seasoned marketer, it is no surprise that when I learned I had Parkinson’s Disease, followed by Deep Brain Stimulation to stop the tremor, I jumped at the chance to work on the cause to cure Parkinson’s Disease.

My friends and I started Parkinson’s Women Support in 2008 and added the Facebook site in 2010, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Parkinsons-Women-Support/121474951248509  followed by the blog, www.parkinsonswomen.com. Elaine, Susan and I spearheaded a fundraiser Holiday Bazaar with the help of our Parkinson’s Women Support group that earned $8,000 for the Parkinson’s Institute. That was followed a film Before and After DBS entered in the Neuro Film Festival.

Neuro Film Festival was a tough sales job, because the film competed with 66 other films about brain disease. How does one convince the community to jump on board with a cause, particularly when so many forms of brains disease are represented, each one a worthy cause?

Everyone has much to juggle in life with commitments, families, medications, and the constant lure to participate in social media. It is difficult to make your cause seem important enough that people will drop everything to help you out, even if it is only to register and vote.

As we age, and time has become more precious, Parkinson’s Disease and I have stuck together with the super glue of my loyal friends in the Parkinson’s Women Support. Whether it is joining our support group, our social media, fundraisers or film fans, we’re all a team, and we hope you’ll join us in one way or another to keep Parkinson’s Disease in society’s forefront.

About Parkinson’s Women Support
The  mission of Parkinson’s Women Support is to offer moral support, encouragement and camaraderie for women who are either Parkinson’s Disease patients or caregivers. Check out our Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/parkinsonswomen

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