This April, I urge Lowcountry residents to take part in Parkinson's Awareness Month. Nearly 1 million Americans live with Parkinson's disease, and many, including my father, are living right here in Beaufort.
There is currently no cure.
I am 56 years old and now part of what is being coined the "sandwich generation," though I'm not sure if I'm a club sandwich or open-faced. I have a 90-year-old father whose greatest wish is to be able to walk on his own from his bed to his easy chair.
I have learned a lot from my father's fight with this debilitating neurological disease. While most people recognize Parkinson's disease from the tremors, I know too well that there are other symptoms, some devastatingly frightening and sad, which are not easily visible.
I have become involved in the Beaufort and Port Royal Parkinson's support group. This group has helped me to better understand and deal with my dad's disease and as a result improve his quality of life.
I am proud to note that both the city of Beaufort and the town of Port Royal have joined the group in declaring by proclamation that April is Parkinson's Awareness Month.
Let's make a difference this April. I invite those affected by Parkinson's disease, including family and caregivers, to attend support group meetings held on the first Thursday of every month at Shell Point Baptist Church.
For information, call 843-525-1229 or 843-252-3001. If you know someone with Parkinson's, please consider making a donation to aParkinson's foundation or advocacy group.
Thank you for your support.