In order to understand Parkinson’s more fully, we must recognize the diversity of all people who are living with the disease, those caring for their loved ones and the community at large who is urgently working to find a cure. Millions of patients and families are impacted by Parkinson’s disease (PD) worldwide — each of them with diverse backgrounds, of different races, ages, ethnicities and gender.
This March, in celebration of Women’s History Month, The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) is sharing stories from women in our community, including the experiences of patients, care partners and researchers.
MJFF Patient Council member Soania Mathur, MD, who was diagnosed with young-onset PD at age 27, is a retired family physician, wife and mother of three living outside of Toronto, Ontario. She has blogged about her encouragement for those who are newly diagnosed and parenting:
“To my newly diagnosed self. I just wanted you to know that you will eventually have three beautiful daughters and even though you worry about how you are going to raise them while facing a disease that will challenge you every day, you will make it through joyfully…Parkinson’s may make some of the physical aspects of parenting a little harder but some day your daughters will look at you and say ‘We want to be just like you.’”
MJFF was co-founded by Debi Brooks, the Foundation’s current executive vice chairman, whose philosophy has helped shape the Foundation to strive for the right balance between pragmatism and optimism:
“I thought of entrepreneurs as inventors, and I didn’t think I had a product to event. I’m astonished at the impact we’ve had and take pride in the model we have created. Along the way, we’ve proven that patient-driven capital can play a game-changing role in drug development.”
The New England Parkinson’s Ride has become to date the largest single-day fundraising event in Team Fox history. It was created by Edna Woods in support of her son Chris, who was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson’s at age 41. Through Edna’s vision, passion and love for her son she has helped raise more than $5.8 million to date for Parkinson’s research:
“I originally rallied family and friends to do this for Chris, but when you get to know other people with Parkinson’s and those who love them, it’s just so much bigger than that. It quickly became my passion. It’s no longer just about Chris, but about Michael, and every single person who is dealing with this disease. It’s about finding a cure — now.”
Throughout Women’s History Month and beyond, MJFF celebrates the experiences of our diverse community. Continue to browse stories all year long to learn how the Parkinson’s community is working tirelessly to end PD.