December 31, 2014 | by Darcy Blake | The Parkinson’s Women Support started the year 2014 with a luncheon where founding member Susan Foster wrapped it up by saying, “We all recognize that PD is such an individual disease. We each have different symptoms, different rates of progression, and different responses to therapies – pharmacologic or non-pharmacologic. The one thing we all do agree on is that exercise makes us feel better and function better!”

Parkinson Wellness Recovery (PWR!) Retreat in Arizona
There was discussion of the Parkinson Wellness Recovery (PWR!) retreat in Arizona, which several of us had attended. There was news of the PWR! training session was coming to the Bay Area.

Tour of Hanna House at Stanford
Our cultural chair Nancy Stohn announced an upcoming outing at the Hanna House, a Frank Lloyd Wright house on the Stanford campus.

Linda Ronstadt talk at the Mayer Theater in Santa Clara
Also in January, the Linda Ronstadt talk at the Mayer Theater in Santa Clara was an entertaining, casual talk about her music, celebs, her home state Arizona, her childhood, and miscellaneous aspects of her life as a star. At the end of the talk, the interviewer asked, “I suppose we’d better get to Parkinson’s Disease. Linda commented with only a sentence– something like she didn’t sign up to get it, but then it was back to her music. We thought, “PD doesn’t have to define you. Ride on, Linda!”

Dr. Becky Farley Visits Silicon Valley
In a snap, Dr. Becky Farley rolled into the Bay Area in April with Dr. Claire McLean, sparking an exercise revolution resulting in 94 newly trained PD exercise experts in the Bay Area.

The Loss of Robin Williams
In the month of August we mourned the loss of Robin Williams, whose hidden diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease had reportedly impacted his downward spiral in depression.

Dr. Melanie Brandabur Heads Towards Clinical Trials
By November, we learned that Dr. Melanie Brandabur, renown former clinical director of the Parkinson’s Institute in Sunnyvale, and catalyst for the start of our PWS group was about to embark on a new goal to help to develop clinical trials for new drugs for Ultragenyx.

Kaiser Permanente/Redwood City Opens New Hospital
Around the same time, one of us spoke at the ribbon cutting ceremony for Kaiser Permanente/Redwood City’s new hospital.

Fundraising Walks Get Organized
By then, news of the National Parkinson Foundation’s inaugural Moving Day @ Silicon Valley and the Parkinson’s Institute walk began to fill the air, and several of us have since found ourselves in a grass roots organization mode.

Parkinson’s Scientist Benabid Honored
Aside from our busy year keeping Parkinsons’s Disease in the forefront, the article that rose as significant news for Parkinson’s Disease in 2014 was the Digits (Wall Street Journal) November 2014 article, “Scientists win prizes at Silicon Valley Gala,” by Rolfe Winkler.

This was an article about life scientists, physicists and mathematicians making medical breakthroughs who were feted at a second annual Breakthrough Prize award ceremony in Silicon Valley.

Twelve prizes were awarded to six to life scientists, five to mathematicians and one to two teams of physicists. Each honoree received $3 million thanks to sponsorship by the founders of Google, Facebook, and Alibaba among others.

Included in the recognized lineup was Alim-Louis Benabid who pioneered the use of electrical stimulation in the brain to relieve symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

Pioneers such as life scientist Benabid represent a future of hope and  promise for people with PD. On behalf of Parkinson’s Women Support, we thank him for his marvelous contribution that has brought relief for many people with Parkinson’s Disease and we wish him the most wonderful 2015.

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



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