Thursday, April 21, 2016

Forging Resilience....Near My Hometown

     With the World Parkinson Congress just months away, I'm constantly learning about wonderful projects being put in place for the conference. It's exciting to hear of activities in many of the countries I've visited during my travels. This week I had an even more amazing experience...discovering an endeavor near my hometown in Montana.
      Just minutes before I boarded a flight to Butte, Montana, I read an email requesting WPC bloggers help get the word out about "Forging Resilience", a program that is gathering stories and quotes from those with Parkinson's around the world. The quotes are being placed on the leaves of their "tree" that will be on display at WPC 2016 in Portland. I was then surprised to read that the artists, Carolyn and Hadley, were in Missoula, Montana -- just a few miles from my childhood home in the tiny town of Frenchtown.
    After a few emails and phone calls, I was fortunate to get a behind-the-scenes look at the production of this piece of art. Here's a quick photo journey through that process...

     Quotes from PwP are gathered through an online submission form (Click here to add your quote to the tree - Submit your Story). The printed quotes are then torn into leaf shapes using pre-cut templates. I found out this is not as easy as it looks and gained much respect for the 19 volunteers who have donated countless hours to the project to date.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

444 Parkinson’s Foundation, Parky and WPC Travel Grants Program

     As I travel the world, I’m often asked, “How do you pay for travel?” and “Do you have a sponsor?” I actually pay my own travel expenses, which is only possible because I make travel a priority and have become a savvy budget traveler. For example, I keep a spreadsheet with my frequent flyer account balances, research programs’ credit card and mileage partners and have acquired a detailed understanding of airline mile rewards. This often means I select routes between less visited cities in regions with low mileage requirements to allow stop-overs in new destinations. In 2013, I was fortunate to find flights into Ottawa and out of Quebec, so I could visit these beautiful cities and also save on airfare to the WPC in Montreal.

     Despite my efforts, there is still a significant cost associated with travel - as those planning to attend WPC 2016 in Portland are well aware. Fortunately, there is some assistance available. When I planned Run-the-World 4 Parkinson’s I decided to try to raise funds for Parkinson’s-related projects and created the non-profit, 444 Parkinson’s Foundation. In January 2016, we were able to contribute $5000 to the WPC Travel Grants Program. Many other organizations and individuals have also submitted donations. In addition, you can purchase a Parky stuffed animal at the WPC Online Store and the proceeds will go to the WPC Travel Grants Program.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Expanding the WORLD of the World Parkinson Congress

    One of my lasting memories from the World Parkinson Congress in Montreal in 2013 was viewing the videos in the WPC video competition. I particularly remember the video "Power Forward" that documented a group, including former-NBA player Brian Grant, hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro. The video had both beautiful images and an inspiring message.

     When the video competition was announced for WPC 2016, I considered sharing my travel and Parkinson's support experiences from around the world. However, having only a self-taught, rudimentary knowledge of Windows Movie Marker and very little (if any) artistic ability - I didn't think I'd be able to put together anything worthy of presenting. Later I heard there would be an amateur category, so I played around with my many files of photos and video clips and came up this...

P.S.  When I loaded my video to YouTube I got the notification from YouTube seen in this did they know that my video might be "shaky" - ha, ha.