Introducing The PD Fighters Corner
With much hope for its future, we introduce The PD Fighters Corner, a new blog from the Parkinson’s Exercise and Wellness Center. This blog will feature insight into the Parkinson’s Exercise and Wellness Center, collaborations with local PD professionals and nonprofits, and more.
2020 In Retrospect
Any other year, a year-in-review blog might highlight accomplishments, growth, and goals for the next year, but the PEWC, like the rest of the world, has never experienced a year like 2020 before. Though we very much intend to celebrate our accomplishments in this article, we also acknowledge the struggles and losses that accompanied these successes. With an optimistic eye toward the future, we reflect on what 2020 meant for the PEWC.
The COVID-19 pandemic demanded a speedy adaptation to safer protocols, which for many months meant holding classes exclusively on Zoom. When Kansas City first shut down, the Parkinson’s Exercise and Wellness Center managed to transition from in-person classes to online in only four days. After these four days, we were able to offer our services nearly continually for the rest of the year and provide take-home kits for our fighters. Once we were allowed to re-open for limited in-person classes, we released a comprehensive class schedule that prioritized our in-person and online fighters’ needs equally. Our in-person classes have remained a safe option for our fighters, with regular cleanings, mask requirements, and social distancing practiced in every class.
Even during the pandemic, the PEWC expanded our programs to provide a diverse array of exercise classes for people with Parkinson’s Disease. In 2020, we added Guided Relaxation & Gentle Stretch, Weights, and our one-on-one Reformer Pilates program.
We held a number of social events online or in-person in 2020, adapting to the safety needs of the pandemic. Fox4KC’s Mark Alford joined us in hosting our Zoom Scavenger Hunt early in the year and our Zoom Halloween party in October. In person, we gathered for a girls’ night where our fighters and coaches created beautiful paintings of a tree of their choice. In November, some of our guys got together at the center to watch the Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones, Jr. fight. In December, we hosted a Zoom Christmas party, with our fighters delivering “Twas the Night Before Christmas” and “The Birth of Jesus.” Building and sustaining a PD community is vital to our mission, and in 2020 we addressed the isolation of the pandemic by gathering in whatever ways we could.
Many new faces joined the center in 2020, including over a dozen new members. Chloe Seim also joined the PEWC as our Marketing & Administrative Coordinator. Yara Morgan and Victoria Brody completed their Occupational Therapist Assistant Level II fieldwork at the center. We also lost a few members in 2020. Larry Albani, Paul Hauser, Ned Carlin, and Florence Sloan passed away this past year. Though we felt these losses deeply, the strength of our PEWC community allowed us to come together and grow from our grief.
When it came to fundraising, we far exceeded any goal we had set for the year. Thanks to the organizing genius of Kent Gasaway, our Cars for Parkinson’s event raised over $190,000. Stephanie Goodman also received a $10,000 Community Grant from the Parkinson’s foundation for her Parkinson’s—Art of Expression class. In all, we raised over $220,000 in 2020. Due to this generous influx of support, we were able to decrease our monthly membership dues to $140.
Though this past year brought unforeseen challenges, the Parkinson’s Exercise and Wellness Center has high hopes for 2021. Already, we have added a new Movement & Mobility class to our offerings, and we have more new classes and social events on the horizon. This past Wednesday, coach Stephanie hosted a PARTE Open House over Zoom, with special guest Dr. Amit Abraham hosting a Q & A on mental imagery and Parkinson’s Disease. On Thursday, February 18, we will host our first virtual PARTE Bingo Night, organized by coach Josh. The future is rich with possibility, and we look forward to guiding you through our fight against Parkinson’s Disease.