City proclaims today Parkinson’s Awareness Day

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Sometimes awkward moments make for the funniest stories and talking about troubling experiences can forge bonds between people. That especially rings true for a few local residents with Parkinson’s Disease.

As the city recognizes today as Parkinson’s Awareness Day, a local group will gather, as usual, for their monthly meeting. A meeting that some rely on to receive much-needed support.

“I had the DBS, deep-brain stimulation, done. Before that, I wasn’t able to move,” said resident James Douthit. “Now I’m walking, talking, I can almost smile again.”

Douthit is one of several who attend the monthly meetings.

“It’s a lot of support. Just a lot of support,” he said. “Everybody’s Parkinson’s is different.”

“Whenever a person has Parkinson’s, they don’t want to get out into public. They don’t want to be around people because they are aware of how they might shake or how they’re stiff, so they don’t feel comfortable about getting around others,” Douthit’s wife, Joy, said.

One good thing about the support group, she said, is whenever they get together, they are around people that know exactly what they’re going through.

“So there is a type of camaraderie that’s there that they won’t find anywhere else,” she said.

Tonight’s meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Elmbrook Suites activity room, 1711 9th Ave. NW. Special guest Bruce McIntyre, executive director of the Parkinson Foundation of Oklahoma, will be presenting “9 Things You Need to Know About Living with PD.”

The meeting is part of the state foundation’s inaugural Parkinson’s Oklahoma 2016 Blitz, where they travel to 16 cities in 20 days. In support of Parkinson’s Awareness Day, Mayor Doug Pfau presented a proclamation to members of the Ardmore group during the city commission meeting Monday night.

“Parkinson’s patients in Ardmore have participated in such innovative programs as Parkinson’s 101 classes, as well as novel approaches, to support and educate even one of the earliest support groups of Parkinson’s patients in Oklahoma,” Pfau read from the proclamation.

Parkinson’s Disease is something Pfau has seen firsthand in his family.

“My grandfather had Parkinson’s Disease, so I remember as a kid, him having a chair that the seat moved up so he could get up and down. I remember that as a kid because we used to play on it, because that’s what grandkids do,” Pfau said, getting a chuckle from the crowd.

“But it’s really near and dear to my family and I’m really glad that the Parkinson’s Foundation decided to do this.”

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