Parkinson’s is challenging enough with “proper” treatment. That is, despite being medicated sufficiently as well as taking care to address the added physical and mental health burdens of Pd, I still at times struggle. Many people in this world don’t have anywhere close to the level of support I have, from access to education, social support, exercise groups / classes, emotional support, medication, and importantly a populous that is educated on and tolerant of Parkinson’s sufferers. In many parts of the world, Parkinson’s is mis-understood and / or unrecognized. Leaving the afflicted without the support they badly need. This is unthinkable. Sadly this is the reality for many Parkinson’s sufferers in the city of Oaxaca, Mexico. Yet, many there have learned to survive and in some cases, thrive!

That’s why I jumped at the opportunity to join a few of my close Parky friends to travel down to Oaxaca in late April to see how these remarkable Parkinson’s sufferers live in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges. Sandra Bartolano, herself a PwP, has advocated for a Parkinson’s center to provide badly needed support for Parkinson’s sufferers throughout Oaxaca. It is through her efforts, assembling an event complete with presentations from medical experts, that I and some of my fellows are afforded this opportunity to provide support in anyway we can.

The exact itinerary isn’t fully defined, and that’s ok. Whether it be demonstrating techniques to overcome freezing episodes, speaking about how we use exercise to minimize our symptoms, or even helping setup the Parkinson’s center, we will be there to help in anyway possible. I trust that with the group of compassionate, intelligent individuals, we will be able to have a positive impact in some way. If nothing else, we will be able to lift some spirits and come home empowered to tell some of their stories. Stories of tenacity and persistence.

Finally, I’m confident that this trip will change me for the better. What lives can I perhaps touch for the better? What can these survivors teach me about overcoming challenges? I’m looking forward to finding out!

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