Parkinson’s Disease still has no cure. But there are numerous resources to make the lives of those who have Parkinson’s better than ever before. The local Parkinson’s Outreach Association is holding an expo this Saturday to showcase many of those resources.
Some very famous people have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease: people like Muhammed Ali, Michael J. Fox, Alan Alda, Neil Diamond and Billy Graham, to name just a few. The affliction even has more than a tenuous toehold in the Tallahassee area.
"There is still a lot of stigma associated with Parkinson's. We believe there are about 700-800 people in Tallahassee living with Parkinson's and we're hoping that through education that some of the stigma will be removed and that people will reach out to us and realize that it's nothing to be ashamed of and there's a lot of help out there."
That's Geno Santopadre, president of the Parkinson’s Outreach Association, a hometown organization, which is locally based and focused.
"It started out as a choir," he recalled. "One of the things that really affects people with Parkinson's is the voice starts to soften. So the Parkinson's Outreach Association started with the choir to strengthen their voices."
And this isn’t simply a clinic-based therapy. Since its founding the North Florida Parkinson’s Awareness Choir has booked a considerable number of outside gigs all over.
"Michelle Pellito is the leader of the choir. She is a music therapist by trade and they go to a lot of the assisted living facilities. They'll actually be at our Wellness Expo next weekend."
In previous years, Santopadre said the Wellness Expo had been held at Southwood, but was making the move to Cascades Park this year.
"It'll be right next to the Korean War Memorial, so you can park at the Florida Department of Transportation lot and walk over. The Parkinson's Choir will be performing. We'll have Ageless Grace, which is a movement therapy that we have in our organization and we pay for the families to come out and do. And then a presentation from Rock Steady Boxing, which we actually provide scholarships for people with Parkinson's as well."
Other Parkinson’s resources will be part of the event.
"We'll have vendors in healthcare that have booths for everybody to walk around. There will be a couple of pharmaceutical reps who will be out there to talk about medications."
Santopadre said it all happens this Saturday morning, June 15.
"We start at 8:30 a.m. and then we'll have a walk around the park about 10:30 or 11. And there will be shirts that people can get ahold of."
You can check out the Parkinson's Outreach Association website: https://theparkinsonsoutreach.org/ for more information before you go.