Susan Mollohan first noticed a tremor in her hand while at work as the Dean of Students at a high school in New Hampshire. After about four to six months of living with the tremor, the high school nurse, a friend of Susanís, suggested she see a neurologist. Soon after her diagnosis with Parkinsonís disease (PD) in March 2009, Susan soon began taking advantage of opportunities to learn more about her diagnosis, and ultimately, do something about it.
At an educational seminar at Boston University about Parkinsonís disease, Susan learned about an observational clinical trial studying the impact of exercise on PD progression that needed volunteers. ďI was motivated to participate so that researchers could publish information about the benefits of exercise for other people with PD,Ē says Susan, an avid skier and yoga devotee.
The study at Boston University lasted two years and required participants to come in for two visits each year. Participants were asked about their exercise routine, including type and frequency, and then underwent general physical assessments of their pace, balance, etc. ďParticipating in this trial gave me an improved outlook and attitude about my diagnosis,Ē says Susan. ďPeople need to take control of their health questions and get out there to find answers. We have to advocate for ourselves and not give in to the diagnosis.Ē
Since the completion of the study, Susan says sheís willing to participate in another trial has registered as a volunteer on Fox Trial Finder, MJFFís online clinical trials matching tool. She participates in yoga more now than before her diagnosis and has even written a book about the positive effects of yoga on her Parkinsonís symptoms titled My Story. Susan also fundraises for Team Fox and this year she and her husband Steven will participate for the fifth time in the annual New England Parkinsonís Ride benefitting The Michael J. Fox Foundation. This year at the ride sheíll have her book in tow, selling it for $20 donations to Parkinsonís research, and will pedal 50 miles with her team, Suzyís Shakers.
Sheís certainly shaking things up: Susan says her goal is to put a face to Parkinsonís disease. Recalling an anatomy class she visited while working at the high school, she says, ďTwo girls happened to be giving a presentation about PD. They used a picture of a hunched over, elderly man. I told them, ĎThatís not the face of ParkinsonísÖthis is.íĒ
You can be part of the answer to Parkinsonís disease. Sign up today for Fox Trial Finder to learn about ongoing clinical trials in your area and get involved in the pursuit of a cure.