Last week I had the honor to be interviewed by Michael Kiniry, Producer of Gulf Coast Life, a local broadcast of WGCU Public Radio based in Ft. Myers, Florida. This is the second time I have joined Mike during Parkinson’s Awareness month, and with 9,000 people or more with a PD diagnosis residing in SW Florida, Parkinson’s is on a lot of people’s mind this month.
I was joined in the interview by Dr. Ramon Gil, a local neurologist, and Medical Director of the Parkinson’s Treatment Center of Southwest Florida. Dr. Gil discussed current advancements in the treatment and diagnosis of Parkinson’s and highlighted the importance of exercise and education as the two most important adjuncts to proper medical treatment.
I discussed the importance of enrolling in speech therapy soon after one receives a diagnosis of PD, emphasizing that early enrollment in therapy allows you to learn exercises which may help to strengthen and preserve communication and swallowing function. I also discussed the benefit of community-based programs, of which we are fortunate to have many here in SW Florida, and which serve an important role in providing care-partner and peer support and a host of programs supporting the body and mind.
Finally, we were also joined my Michael Davidson, a person living with Parkinson’s. I first met Mike in 2016, only 4 months after his PD diagnosis when he came to me for an evaluation. Although he had no real measurable or perceptual impairment in speech at that time, he knew the neuroprotective importance of exercise, and understood that completing a 30- day speech therapy protocol, was equivalent to working with a trainer in the gym for 30 days, and that exercise undertaken early might help to delay progression of symptoms. In October of 2016, when I began to offer the LOUD Crowd®, a weekly after-therapy speech class modeled after a program begun at the Parkinson Voice Project, Mike was one of the founding members, and continues his commitment to attend weekly, now serving in a leadership role and co-facilitator of the group.
Near the end of the interview, Mike was asked by the host for his final thoughts or comments, and what Mike said was perhaps the most important statement of all: “your attitude and how you lived your life before a diagnosis with PD will have lots to do with how you manage life after a diagnosis.” To that end, Mike Davidson is a walking testimonial. After retiring from 20 years in the Navy, Mike and his wife Pat lived on a sailboat in the Caribbean for 12 years. He has blown glass, raised bees, grown palms, and together with his wife renovated their home. He and his wife go to the gym every morning, and he joins me every Thursday encouraging other LOUD Crowd® members to practice, live and speak with Intent, and stay engaged in life wherever they might be on their PD journey.
To listen to the full 30 minute interview which airs live April 13, 2021 at 1pm and 9pm ET, and will available to listen to at a later time. Just click on the link: https://news.wgcu.org/podcast/gulf-coast-live/2021-04-13/april-is-parkinsons-awareness-month
You Can Help People with Parkinson’s Who Have No Access to Needed Medications
Please join me in supporting the mission of the World Parkinson’s Program (WPP), the only charity that provides free medications to people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) living in poverty around the world.On Thursday, April 22, 2021, World Parkinson Program is hosting a virtual Fundraising Gala & Trivia Night with many chances to win prizes, such as $100 Amazon Gift Cards. Guest speakers include Omotola Thomas & John Baumann. All proceeds will go towards helping raise funds to continue the mission of PWP.
2021 PARKINSON’S DISEASE AWARENESS MONTH SYMPOSIUM
Sponsored by: Parkinson’s Disease Treatment Center of SW Florida
Friday • April 30, 2021
12:00 pm to 5:30 pm
Charlotte Harbor Event and Conference Center
75 Taylor Street, Punta Gorda, FL
For more information, contact email@example.com or call 941-743-4987
FREE ADMISSION… Seating is limited…
*CDC Guidelines will be followed.
My Mission: To enlist individuals in their treatment, and help them express their personality & spirit through voice. To educate and empower. Mary Spremulli, MA, CCC-SLP * FiTOUR® Group Exercise Instructor * Voice Aerobics® A Whole Body Approach to Voice Practice
Voice Aerobics the heART and Science of Voice Practice