People with young onset Parkinson's, who are likely to live with the disease for many years, often feel a great determination to "do something" about it. Advocacy is the active support of an idea or cause.
You become a Parkinson's disease advocate whenever you become involved in activities intended to improve the lives of people living with PD. Some advocates demonstrate their support in subtle and personal ways, while others make more obvious and public contributions of their time, attention and/or funds. Whether you choose to engage in some of the activities noted here or find your own unique way of lending support, know that the work of every PD advocate strengthens the voice of the entire PD community and makes a better future possible.
You can work to "Ease the Burden" and "Find the Cure" for PD whether others know you are impacted by the disease or not. From your neighbors to your congressional representatives, you can increase awareness of PD and YOPD by educating others and encouraging those in your community to join your cause.
Talk to other people with PD. You may be able to find a support group specifically for young onset patients or a general support group that holds separate meetings for younger members. If you cannot find a young onset support group, consider starting one. The APDA National Young Onset Center can help you. There are also message boards, chat rooms, and social networking communities specifically designed for people with PD.
Volunteering as an individual or as part of a group can be a powerful experience. It can give you a sense of purpose when you might otherwise feel lost. It is also a good way to remind yourself of all that you have and all that you can still do to impact your own life and the lives of others. There are many volunteer opportunities available with local Parkinson's support groups, your local APDA Chapter and with other local, regional and national organizations.
The Parkinson's Action Network (PAN) serves as the unified voice of the PD community on public policy issues. PAN's national grassroots network of state and congressional district coordinators advocate in their communities and in Washington, DC for these issues and for greater awareness about Parkinson's. Volunteers are welcomed to join the grassroots network of advocates.
Younger people and families, who will live with the disease for a longer period of time, truly understand the importance of research. From local walk-a-thons to cross country bike rides, the young Parkinson's community consistently demonstrates tremendous creativity and determination when it comes to raising awareness and raising funds.
You can now search online for an existing event, or gather your family, friends, co-workers and community members to start your own event. We will provide all of the tools to get your event started, including our Event Starter Kit.
For more information, visit www.optimism4parkinsons.org or call us at 877.223.3801 if you have questions about how you can make a difference in your own unique way.
APDA funds important scientific research and is the only national Parkinson’s organization with a Young Onset Center specifically dedicated to educating and supporting those impacted by Parkinson's disease. Donations like yours allow us to continue providing young people with Parkinson’s disease, their family members, friends and healthcare professionals with accurate information and affordable resources We are able to help so many thanks to your generous support and donations! Click here to Donate Now!