Quotes from the WPC (World Parkinson’s Congress)

Tom Issacs from Great Britain, speaker
Tom Issacs from Great Britain, speaker

I love quotes. Good, meaningful, and/or funny quotes. So, going through my notes from the WPC conference we attended this past week, here are some you fellow Parkies may enjoy…

  • When the dance class is in session, there are no longer any patients. There are only dancers. — Anonymous via David Leventhal
  • DBS does not help your thinking, your talking or your walking. – Michael Okun
  • Your brain controls everything about you and we control your brain. -Michael Okun
  • When you have expectations, you set yourself up for disappointment. -Ryan Reynolds
  • Rest is a weapon. – Jason Bourne
  • DBS is like a get out of jail free card in the game Monopoly. The game isn’t over. You’ve still got to roll the dice and keep playing. – Andy McDowell
  • Vitamin D is showing possible protection of cognitive decline. – Anonymous
  • PD registries are needed.
  • PD increases risk of melanoma cancer, breast cancer, and other cancers.
  • Knowledge leads to action. – Jason Karlawish
  • Knowledge is power and you’ve got to want it but you’ve got to know what you’re going to do with that power once you get it. – Karlawish
  • Beware of what you’re learning and what you already know and what you’re going to do with that information.  – Karlawish
  • If you’ve met one person with PD you’ve met one pers on with PD. – Anonymous
  • We need to see PD as a humanitarian problem, not as a disease. – Anonymous
  • This is me walking through life with PD, not PD leading me through life. – Anonymous
  • Live your best – Tim Hague
  • Stay with the race – Tim Hague
  • There’s a win waiting for you somewhere – Tim Hague
  • Accept what your best is on each day – Tim Hague
  • Contentment is an emotional state of satisfaction from being at ease in one’s situation. Learn the art of living your best by practicing the art of contentment. – Tim Hague
  • I will have a beautiful life despite PD – Tim Hague
  • When you’ve got PD, you find out what you’re made of.  – Andy McDowell
  • I need to be bigger than I was when I was big – Andy McDowell
  • You cannot hide and be healthy – Andy McDowell
  • The best medicine is HOPE. – Tom Issacs

Something Good

Parkie the WPC Mascot
Parkie the WPC Mascot

What is the WPC, some of you may ask.

WPC stands for Wilma’s Personal Computer, Wisconsin’s Pretty Cats and a score of other off the wall, made up, random stuff, but in this case, WPC stands for World Parkinson Congress.

The WPC began roughly fourteen years ago when Dr. Elias Zerhouni had a vision to see those who had been touched by PD – caregivers, patients, professionals including physicians, nursing staff, pharmaceuticals and more – come together to discuss the latest research, treatments, programs, etc., all for the cause of not only expediting a cure for PD, but how to live well with PD in the meantime.

Zerhouni (the then head of the National Institutes of Health) shared his idea with Robin Elliott (President of the US-based Parkinson’s Disease Foundation [PDF]), who asked Dr. Stanley Fahn, one of the most recognized Parkinsonologists in the world, to help launch the World Parkinson Congresses. Dr. Fahd. agreed and in 2004 the World Parkinson Coalition Inc, the organization behind each Congress was established. The first WPC was held in 2006 in Washington, DC., followed by the WPC 2010 in Glasgow, UK, the WPC 2013 in Montreal, Canada and now the fourth WPC is currently being held in Portland, OR (September 20-23).

Which all brings me to…

Tuesday night, last night, and the opening ceremonies. But let me back up a tad bit.

I was reluctant to go. It’s a six hour drive. Who would watch Finn? It’s expensive.

Excuses, excuses, excuses.

But you know what the biggest reason I was dragging my feet? The conference was about Parkinson’s disease. Yes, that’s right. But, you may ask – Isn’t that what you have?

Well, yes. But I don’t want it. And I get so tired of thinking about it. So – why would I want to go away for four days and hear nothing but Parkinson’s related subject matter?

And then…

I was offered a scholarship (from Parkinson’s Resources of Oregon via Holly Chaimov, their director) to go (which got rid of excuse #2). I was offered hotel accommodations (see excuse #2). Four people stepped up to watch Finn (excuse #3).

I accepted the scholarship, in hopes of the conference rejuvenating my spirit in regards to this little monster, especially in regards to my blog and so, here I sit, in rainy Portland, the morning after the opening ceremonies at the WPC.

Well, the rain is a welcome sight and the conference? So much more than I could have imagined.

This is now the fourth World Parkinson’s Congress. It seems this year is the year that the Congress has hit an exponential curve of growth. This year’s event boasts over 4,500 attendees and the synergy is the conversation of all present.

The goal for the evening was obvious: to make all atrendies feel welcome.

The evening opened up with a choir comprised of people with Parkinson’s disease. There was an award given for the best video presented to the WPC’s video contest. Some history of the WPC was given. Several speakers encouraged those attending but my favorites were Brian Grant, who touched on how it takes a village to deal with Parkinson’s disease, you, the person with PD, your caregiver(s), your support team, doctors, etc. And then he paused and looked out at those sitting in front of him. After a moment he added, “And you guys right here – you’re my village.”

At that moment, I realized I am a part of something bigger than myself. I may not like that I have this little monster I call PD, but the things it has taught me are invaluable. The people I have come to meet and have gotten to know because of it are a blessing beyond words. And I have a village that understands and is there for me. Thanks, Brian.

It reminds me of the verse in Genesis 50:20, where Joseph tells his brothers when they fear he will do unto them what they did unto him, “…you intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid.”

Holly Chaimov, PRO Dorector
Holly Chaimov, PRO Dorector

I can now see some light again after going through a period of darkness over this little PD monster. Because I can see the good in the bad. I can see much good. And while I’ll report back on the conference some more later, I just want to thank Holly Chaimov, a part of my village, for thinking of me and encouraging me and being there.

Thanks, Holly. I hope you got your ice cream bar.

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