Owings Mills Resident Promotes Parkinson’s Awareness Month Saturday
Owings Mills, MD, resident, Leonard Schwartz is calling upon his community to “PAIR Up for Parkinson’s Research” this April, Parkinson’s Awareness Month. In collaboration with the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF) and the Howard County Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease Support Group, he will share his knowledge about participating in research at the support group’s “Get the Point” Parkinson’s fencing demonstration on Saturday, April 21, at 1:00 PM at the Baltimore Fencing Center in Timonium, MD.
“PAIR Up for Parkinson’s Research” is part of a series of 25 educational forums being held nationwide in April to educate the community about local Parkinson’s research studies and thank those who are contributing to research. The forums are being organized by Mr. Schwartz and his 155 colleagues who are part of PDF’s Parkinson’s Advocates in Research (PAIR) in collaboration with local organizations and events.
Diagnosed with young onset Parkinson’s in 2003 at the age of 42, Mr. Schwartz has been actively educating the public about science and the benefits of clinical trial participation ever since. In 2010, he underwent training to become a Research Advocate with PDF.
When members of the Howard County Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease Support Group decided to organize a fencing demonstration “Get the Point!” for people touched by Parkinson’s, Mr. Schwartz agreed the demonstration – of a sport built on coordination and balance –was a perfect venue to add his expertise as a trained research advocate.
Mr. Schwartz, who has participated in clinical studies himself, says about the importance of research education, “To convince people with Parkinson’s that this is an opportunity is hard because some people think it will not affect them today in their lifetime but that’s not true. Being one on one with a researcher leads to better understanding of the disease and to more ideas on how to cope with it, which they can incorporate into their studies.”
“Get the Point!”, which will be led by champion Bin Lu and support group leader Deb Bergstrom, is open to people with Parkinson’s and their families. Mr. Schwartz will present tulip pins at the fencing demonstration as a sign of thanks to people who have participated in Parkinson’s studies. The event will offer educational materials and feature physiologists and a neurologist who will be on site to answer questions. Mr. Schwartz will also present a signed proclamation by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley declaring April as Parkinson’s Awareness Month.
Robin Elliott, Executive Director of PDF, said “At PDF, we are inspired by creative and dedicated individuals like Mr. Schwartz who are finding ways to make a difference in the fight against Parkinson’s. As a Research Advocate, he is a key partner in PDF’s mission to support the research and ideas that will improve the lives and futures of people touched by Parkinson’s.”
Those interested in learning more about “PAIR Up for Parkinson’s Research” or ordering free materials such as posters, brochures or PDF's toolkit, 30 Ways to Raise Awareness of Parkinson's, may contact the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation by calling (800) 457-6676 or emailing email@example.com.
To register for “Get the Point!” on Saturday, April 21 at 1:00 PM at the Baltimore Fencing Center, contact Deb Bergstrom by phone (301) 712-5381 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.