LARGO - Most of the participants walked in honor or memory of a friend or loved one. Others took part because they have the disease and wanted to do their part in helping raise funds for research. All were walking together "for the cure" as well as to bring awareness of Parkinson's disease to the community, said Ginny Bernard, president of the APDA Suncoast Parkinsonians Chapter in Largo. To show his support, Bob Jackson, mayor of the City of Largo, joined the more than 60 walkers in the APDA Walk-A-Thon, which began and ended at Cypress Palms the morning of February 25. Five canines belonging to four of the participants also completed the mile-long hike. The event concluded with refreshments and a drawing for door prizes donated by various vendors.
Bernard advised that over 1.5 million persons throughout the United States have Parkinson's disease, which is described in Random House Webster's Dictionary as a neurologic condition characterized by tremors, especially of the fingers and hands, muscle rigidity and a shuffling gait. Another million people suffer from Parkinson's-like disorders, she noted. Other officers of the Suncoast chapter are Sandy Peters, vice president, and Amy Harrington, secretary-treasurer.
Mission of the American Parkinson Disease Association is "To Ease the Burden, to Find the Cure." The organization is committed to providing funds for research in its quest to discover the cause and cure ot the chronic and progressive disease. There are 57 information and referral centers, 64 chapters and over 1,000 support groups nationwide. The APDA Suncoast Parkinsonians Chapter in Largo is one of two chapters in Florida. The other serves Florida's east coast. In April, which is Parkinson's Awareness Month, the Suncoast chapter will host a symposium featuring speakers who will discuss medical advances, emotional and physical therapies and research efforts.
There are five Parkinson's disease support groups in Pinellas County. All meet monthly, though some do not schedule meetings during the summer months. Persons interested in joining one of the groups may call the numbers listed below for more information as to meeting dates and times. The groups and their locations are as follows: Clearwater Parkinson's Support Group, Clearwater East Library, 2251 Drew Street, Clearwater, 712-8740; Movers & Shakers Young Support Group (for under 65), Seminole Community Library, 9200 113th St. North, Seminole, 397-2024; The Palms of Largo Parkinsonians, Cypress Palms, 400 Lake Ave. NE, Largo, 437-1637; The Barrington/HealthSouth Support Group, The Barrington, 901 Seminole Blvd., Largo, 585-5900; and Suncoast Parkinsonians, St. Luke's United Methodist Church, 4444 5th Ave. North, St. Petersburg, 321-0984.
For information on events scheduled by the APDA Suncoast Parkinsonians Chapter, you may call 391-8214. The national office of the APDA may be reached by calling 1-800-223-2732.
Return to Home Page
Return to Current Edition