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Living Well With Parkinson’s Disease – A Free Tucson Event

By Stephanie Innes

Deep brain stimulation, tools for caregivers and speech therapy are among the topics that will be covered at a summit about Parkinson’s Disease in Tucson this Saturday.

The free event is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday Jan. 30 at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort and Spa.

The Arizona Victory Summit event is being hosted by the Davis Phinney Foundation.

As part of the day,  a “local hero” award will be given to Tucson-area resident Gary Morris, who currently co-leads a local men’s Parkinson’s Disease discussion group.

Davis Phinney, a former Olympic cyclist and professional road racer, is an advocate for those suffering from Parkinson’s Disease. He also suffers from Parkinson’s himself — he was diagnosed at the age of 40 — and  is scheduled to attend Saturday’s event. Phinney’s talk is titled, “Moments of Victory.”

Parkinson’s Disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system. There is no known cure, but there are ways to improve symptoms and overall quality of life.

About 1.5 million Americans are currently living with Parkinson’s Disease. It affects both men and women and its frequency is considerably higher in the over-60 age group.

The Arizona Daily Star ran a story last year about local resident Paul Person, who suffers from Parkinson’s Disease yet has reduced his symptoms through a series of exercises focused on brain fitness.

Meeting Paul last year was inspiring — I would have never known he had a disease that just a year earlier had left him dropping plates, and with a head that drooped even when he tried to lift it for family photos.

Among other sponsoring organizations of this weekend’s event are the Arizona chapter of theAmerican Parkinson Disease Association, Tucson Medical Center, the Muhammad Ali Center, University Physicians Healthcare and Parkinsons Wellness Rehabilitation.

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