WINSTON COUNTY - Governor Kay Ivey has officially proclaimed April as Parkinson’s Awareness Month across Alabama. It is estimated that more than 16,000 people are living with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) in Alabama, with more than 800 diagnosed every year, according to the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Every nine minutes, someone in the U.S. is diagnosed with PD. Due to Alabama’s aging baby boomer population combined with occupational exposures from farming, industry and military service, the number of Alabamians impacted by Parkinson’s grows drastically year over year.
The Parkinson Association of Alabama (PAA) is on a mission to improve the quality of life for patients, caregivers and families affected by Parkinson’s in the state of Alabama.
“Most people don’t realize that the PAA was founded in 1978,” says PAA President Brian Corbett. “Our key initiatives are Care, Community, and a Cure for Parkinson’s-- it’s what we do.”
Corbett was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2014,
“At the PAA, we believe in access to quality care for all Alabamians, providing awareness to make the best-informed decisions with the latest advancements. We also believe that comprehensive wellness is the key to living well with Parkinson’s,” states Corbett.
The Parkinson Association of Alabama has recently launched an online resource center at parkinsonalabama.info to provide those living with Parkinson’s the resources they need to navigate PD, extending access to resources throughout rural Alabama. The PAA also offers care navigation sessions to those recently diagnosed and living with Parkinson’s and their caregivers.
“We also believe community connectedness through support and camaraderie equips those impacted by Parkinson’s and their caregivers is critical. We offer a network of resources that inspires optimism and encouragement to ensure no one travels this journey alone,” Corbett explains.
The PAA partners with a network of more than 20 in-person support and movement groups across the state, also hosting virtual support groups over Zoom so that everyone can have access to a PD community. The PAA provides more than $30,000 in scholarships to those impacted by Parkinson’s to attend movement-based programs throughout the state.
“Most importantly, we believe in supporting Alabama’s quality research initiatives to find a cure for Parkinson’s Disease,” states Corbett.
The PAA has contributed more than $2.9 million in support of PD research at UAB, resulting in over $20 million leveraged in research funding. The UAB Udall Center for Excellence is one of five PD research facilities specializing in Parkinson’s in the United States. Also, more than $35,000 has been provided annually since 2014 to support UAB Pre-doctoral Scholars in their research.
Nearly everyone now knows someone impacted by Parkinson’s. Choosing to support and partner with the PAA guarantees that all donations and resources stay local to provide a positive impact to Alabamians living with Parkinson’s, their caregivers, and families. Anyone who wants to support the PAA and its mission can donate online today at www.parkinsonalabama.com.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.