By Richard Weirich
For The Leader
April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month. Today, it is estimated that nearly 1 million Americans and close to 10 million people worldwide live with Parkinson’s disease (PD), and the number of people affected by the disease is projected to double by 2040. Those are sobering numbers.
Houston Area Parkinson Society (HAPS) works tirelessly to raise awareness, develop additional treatment options and support those currently living with PD. In all that it does, HAPS is a pivotal partner in helping those with PD in our community live their best lives until a cure is found.
Although all group meetings and classes are suspended through April because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the staff at HAPS generally offers numerous programs and services to the Parkinson’s community. More than 40 weekly exercise, water, music and speech therapy groups in addition to tai chi, tango, yoga, dance, singing and non-contact boxing classes are made available by HAPS free of charge. Professionally facilitated support groups are offered at no cost to individuals living with Parkinson’s and their caregivers to share their experiences in a warm, friendly environment. In addition, HAPS offers free transportation services to and from HAPS programs and physician visits. Social services, respite, emergency financial aid, education programs and a monthly newsletter are also available. HAPS is a lifeline for many!
Each April, the global initiative that is Parkinson’s Awareness Month unites patients, caregivers, researchers, physicians and others with the common goal of creating a more comprehensive understanding of this disease which has such a profound impact on the lives of so many in our own community.
HAPS is happy to announce that both Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued proclamations declaring April 2020 Parkinson’s Awareness Month. These important documents highlight the ongoing commitment to improving our understanding and emphasizing the impact this disease has on our community. Many thanks to Mayor Turner and Gov. Abbott for their support and dedication in promoting public awareness of PD.
On March 4, the Chevron Houston Marathon Committee hosted The Run for a Reason Celebration Luncheon. Each year this event brings together all participating charities, sidewalk squad corporate partners and Marathon Committee Members to revel in the successes of the January Marathon weekend.
HAPS was honored to be awarded first place for overall fundraising charity and an award for raising the most funds during “The Run for a Reason Charity Challenge” contest for the 2020 Chevron Houston Marathon season. HAPS is honored to be part of this longtime partnership and looks forward to another great marathon season in 2021.
For more information, visit https://www.parkinson.org/parkinsons-awareness-month.
Weirich is a 72-year-old Garden Oaks resident who has Parkinson’s disease.