The Accidental Advocate

After posting Facebook and Twitter updates from last week’s PAN Forum in Washington, DC,  I’ve been asked by several people why I got involved with Parkinson’s Advocacy. I am rarely in a situation where I have nothing to do, so why add this responsibility to an already burdened calendar?  Because I can.  Because I have to.  This is the only way I know how to fight a horrible disease that has stolen so much from my family. 

Why accidental?  Well, I didn’t intend to advocate for public policy changes.  After a traumatic accident and a lengthy stay in a rehab center, the attending physician casually said, “Yup, your Dad has Parkinson’s Disease.  He’ll need to take this medicine.”  That’s it.  No information on what Parkinson’s was, where we could get help or support.  “See you in a few weeks.”  Like an ugly cartoon dialog bubble that wouldn’t go away, those words hung over us like the Sword of Damocles.

I found lots of info on the net about national resources, but nothing local.  When Hayley at www.parkinsonsaction.org asked me if I’d like to get involved and advocate for Idaho’s Parkinson’s community, how could I say no?