by Amy Comstock Rick, CEO of Parkinson’s Action Network
Parkinson’s disease is a chronic, progressive neurological disorder and the second most prevalent degenerative neurological disease after Alzheimer’s. So far this year, people all over the country have honored loved ones with Parkinson’s disease by helping the Parkinson’s Action Network (PAN) and the other national Parkinson’s disease organizations spread awareness of the disease and its impact on our nation.
PAN, a nonprofit advocacy organization based in Washington, DC, would like thank the hundreds of grassroots advocates who have already asked their local and state governments to proclaim April as Parkinson’s Awareness Month. A sampling of all local proclamations can be found on the PAN website, and you can view images of our grassroots leaders receiving their proclamations from council members, mayors and governors around the country. PAN is also thrilled that our representatives in the U.S. Senate proclaimed April Parkinson’s Awareness Month.
So why is an awareness month important?
While as many as 1.5 million Americans have Parkinson’s disease and an additional 60,000 people are expected to be diagnosed each year, little is known about Parkinson’s. Despite great efforts from people in the Parkinson’s community and advocacy organizations such as PAN and Research!America, there is still no treatment to halt or slow the progression of the disease. In addition to the day-to-day impact this disease has on an individual’s life, the economic burden of Parkinson’s is $14.4 billion a year and prevalence of the disease is expected to double by 2040.
We may not have found a cure yet, but each year the research community gets one step closer to uncovering more information about the disease and finding better treatments. PAN’s mission is to advocate on behalf of the Parkinson’s disease community on federal policy issues such as increased research funding and access to the best care possible. But we cannot do that without the help of people like you, and April is an excellent time to learn more about Parkinson’s disease and get involved.
This April, consider the many ways you can help spread awareness of Parkinson’s and educate others about the issues that affect people who have the disease, their families and their caregivers. Whether you’d like to learn more about sharing information at local support groups or how to send an email to your Member of Congress about an important Parkinson’s issue, please visit our website and sign up for our emails and alerts.
Together we can make a difference and find better treatments and a cure for Parkinson’s disease. Join us in spreading awareness in April and beyond.