Please support the battle against Parkinson’s disease

Each year thousands of patients, their families and friends gather in New York’s Central Park for a two-mile walk to raise awareness of Parkinson’s disease and funds for research. I am supporting the Parkinson’s Unity Walk and hope you will join me by walking with me and my team. Help us raise funds towards my team’s goal. When you click on the link provided you will be forwarded to my Personal Donation Page. Please, take action with me to find a cure for Parkinson’s disease.

Share the camaraderie and make a difference!

Click here to help

THANK YOU!

Ode to an Athlete

I was always an athlete of sorts,
Swim-, bike-, and run- ing my sports.
When Parkinson’s hit,
I couldn’t just sit
Like a rusty old ship docked in port.

I first took an exercise class
‘cause I had to do something fast.
Fitness set me in motion,
like some magic potion,
to put my PD in the past.

A triathlon is for me.
I’m entered in race number three.
I’ll try hard to win,
though chances are thin.
It’s the effort I make that’s the key.

In Richmond we’ve started a group
To exercise, squat, bend and stoop.
We have lots of fun,
and when we are done,
we’ll have kicked old PD for a loop!

We continue our non-ending fight,
To try to make everything right,
by using computers
among our recruiters
who log in on our own web site.*

*www.parkinsonrichmond.com

Cheryl Majeske shows how much is possible for someone living with Parkinsons disease

Richmond, Va. (April 1, 2007) ”Cheryl Majeske wants each day to be one more day she is able to push her Parkinsons disease (PD) into the background and live life on her terms. Saturday, April 28, she will join thousands of families, friends, and caregivers in the Parkinsons Unity Walk, the largest grassroots fundraiser for Parkinson’s research.

Parkinson disease does not have me, and I am going to New York to show that people can live with PD and still do many of the things they love, said Majeske.

For most of Majeske’s career as a physical therapist, she was the one helping patients recover and maintain movement through exercise. She remembers working with PD patients without ever thinking she would become one.

At the age of 46, Majeske was diagnosed with Parkinsons disease. The active lifestyle that had included regular exercise appeared in jeopardy. Majeske decided to take her future into her own hands and use exercise  as a primary treatment for managing PD. Majeske corresponds with physical therapy and exercise physiologist researchers throughout the country to utilize current findings on the benefit of  exercise in disease management.

Majeske is attending the Parkinson’s Unity Walk with her husband, Mike, as one of the five winners of the AZILECT® (rasagiline tablets). ‘My Exercise’ essay contest. [2] Her entry talked about how she has made exercise her inspiration and priority in managing her PD.  In June she will participate in her 3rd Sprint Triathlon, which consists of 0.2 mile swim, 12.4 mile bike, and 3.1 mile run. In addition to her own attention to fitness, Majeske helped start the first community Parkinsons exercise class in Richmond.  She also developed a web site, www.parkinsonrichmond.com, which provides resources for the PD community.

People underestimate what you can do when you are living with PD, Majeske said. I hope people hearing about the thousands of people walking in the Unity Walk in Central Park will see that we are serious about helping find a cure and we plan to live well with PD until that day comes.

Parkinson’s Unity Walk Saturday, April 29

Come and join thousands in Manhattan’s beautiful Central Park on Saturday, April 29, 2006 (rain or shine) for an event-filled day at the 12th Parkinson’s Unity Walk.

Where 100% of all donations goes directly to research.

The Parkinson’s Unity Walk is the largest grassroots fundraiser for Parkinson’s research in the community. Since 1994, families, friends, caregivers, and major Parkinson’s foundations have gathered once a year to unify the common goal of finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease.

For more information visit unitywalk.org

Parkinsons and Exercise

Anyone with decades of experience in health care knows that the focus is no longer on TLC, patient-health worker partnership or prevention. Instead the system has become a beaurocratic mess with guidelines for care established by Medicare and private insurance companies. Control by insurance managers and health institution administrators has health care professionals degraded to technician status to function only to keep the assembly line moving and trouble free. Health professional’s autonomy and creative thinking skills have been weakened. Ideas or programs to enhance patient health are not valued if immediate profits can not be generated. I was asked to leave my job because I saw value in programs that improved patient health but the facility saw a loss of revenue. I saw ways to improve job satisfaction and efficiency. I saw
programs handed to me which were poorly designed and needed revision prior to implementation. But my role was not to think or be creative. I was to comply with the system and its pitfalls because it produced a steady revenue. Innovative pilot projects and new programs would require an inital expenditure but health care savings could be realized in the future. Where are the professionals and health care facilities that are willing to take a risk and investigate whether proposed pilot projects would be cost effective? If effective, these programs should be paid for my Medicare and private insurance.

Therapists (PT or OT) initially conducted a group exercise class for Parkinson’s Disease patients. The group met twice weekly for 40 minutes and patients paid $30/month for the classes. Medicare B does not pay for group classes. The patients were challenged and functional gains were evident; comaraderie and group spirit were high. Therapists were pulled away from this role because we could generate more revenue by treating a patient individually through Med B. Our charges for evaluation, exercise, gait or whatever on one patient far exceeded the nominal out of pocket expense for the group class. The new instructor was a clerical assistant with no education, no exercise training and basically no interest. Anecdotally, the group has lost function and spirit. But the therapy department has won by adding dollars to the kitty!

Many of the residents in the large retirement facilty have functional declines due to boredom, lack of effective activity programs, depression or laziness. Med B will pay for “skilled” therapy services to get them to a higher baseline. This means I act as a cheerleader and phys ed instructor to get them moving again. If the patient fails to maintain their gains when therapy has finished, I can treat them again for the same.

Medicare doesn’t care how often this cycle is repeated as long as gains are being made. Why not have therapists or exercise specialists supervise patients in an exercise facility like a Y to maintain their fitness?

Because Medicare won’t pay for seniors to attend such a program. But if a regular fitness program was more cost effective than multiple Med B billings, could we not convince Medicare to pay for such programs? Only if more people see value in this and take a risk.

Companies have demonstrated the value of employee fitness programs but efforts by senior residential care communities to maintain the health and well being of their residents is lacking. The impetus is to build a bigger therapy staff to repeatedly pull from Medicare’s pockets rather than try a wellness approach. The impetus is for nearly all residents to have therapy so the bonus checks of middle and upper managers stay
fat.

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