I have had a few opportunities/challenges in the last few weeks, ones that require skill-sets I lack. What I have learned is that people in this Parkinson’s community are sharp, have had vast experiences to bring to any table, are generous with their time and talents and are delightful people to be around. Our July meeting yesterday was a smaller group than usual due to summer vacations but was still all that and more.
The one year anniversary of our group is in October. I am so grateful for this group . Sometimes, I am given credit for it but I am the one I who has benefited. We were strangers who stepped out in faith to see what we had in common and how we could support one another. Now, we are not just fellow travelers but friends and trusted peers.
I have had an idea which has been simmering for the last few weeks, about how to “give back” what we have gotten from this group. Through discussions with others, I envision a workshop type program which we would open up to other affected women. Beyond the presentations, we hope to demonstrate what a women’s group can do. To that end, we would conclude with a short talk and materials about how to go about starting other women’s groups in the area.
Here’s an example of how generous this community is – anyone to whom I mentioned this idea immediately jumped on the bandwagon and offered to help. Before I could even present the idea in person to the full group, I had volunteers:
- To help plan
- To discuss nutrition
- To demonstrate alternative therapies
- To demonstrate exercises
- To discuss how to age well in Fairfax County
When I presented it to the group, they asked great questions (one of my favorites being, “How will you measure success?”). Although I was excited about the idea, we are looking at a short time frame for planning, so I was prepared for them to not want to take it on. I said it wasn’t a big deal if they didn’t want to take it on. My heart swelled when they said it was important to reach out to newly diagnosed women and women without a group. Then they took my “big plan” and they made it an intelligent, doable starter event.
We have a committee (all members are welcome to join the committee (email to follow)). We will have one actual meeting and emails over the next couple weeks to make sure its doable and get the structure set up. This will determine the go/no go decision.
There are a lot of volunteer opportunities and all are valuable and do-able. Getting flyers out to neurologist offices will be a big help, for example. If this event is a success, we’ll look at maybe doing a spring program as well. If you want to help, just let us know.
More on Personalizing Parkinson’s to follow………