Willmar Pedal and Roll

Willmar Pedal and RollThe National Parkinson Foundation Minnesota (NPFM) is excited to work with Pedal and Roll for Parkinson’s for a two-day event in Willmar on August 21-22.

The event, hosted as a part of the NPFM Parkinson-Friendly Communities initiative through a grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation, will take place in the community on the evening of Thursday, August 21 and morning of Friday, August 22.

Thursday evening, Pedal and Roll founder and Parkinson patient Liz Ogren will speak to the community at Club Bethesda from 6:30-8 p.m. about living with a diagnosis and the benefits of exercise.

On Friday morning, the community will have an opportunity to put Liz’s exercise ideas into motion with a Pedal and Roll event at Robbins Island. From 10 a.m.-noon participants can ride their bikes around the island, or use one of the special adaptive bikes provided by Pedal and Roll to get out and get active. Participants are encouraged to bring their own helmets, and light snacks and beverages will be provided.

Informational poster: Willmar Pedal and Roll


Night Out for Parkinson’s – East

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. – The National Parkinson Foundation Minnesota held its annual Night Out for Parkinson’s on Thursday evening at the Mendakota Country Club.

Over 70 people turned out for an evening that included dinner, silent auction and a chance to catch up with those involved in the Parkinson community. Dr. Okeanis Vaou served as the guest speaker for the evening, discussing pain associated with Parkinson’s and how to cope.

We would like to thank those who attended, along with our silent auction and raffle winners.

Be sure to check www.parkinsonmn.org for updates on all of our upcoming events.






2014 Night Out for Parkinson's East


















– – –

The National Parkinson Foundation Minnesota (NPFM) is the Minnesota chapter of the National Parkinson Foundation (NPF). We are a local nonprofit raising awareness and funds for the Upper Midwest Parkinson’s community.  As a strong organization with a rich history, we are growing to enhance our leadership and community relationships, enable Parkinson’s providers to deliver more services and therapies, and to empower patients and families with Parkinson’s information and resources.

– – – www.parkinsonmn.org – – -

Buck Joins NPFM Staff as Communications Specialist

The National Parkinson Foundation Minnesota (NPFM) has hired Rachel Buck to serve as the organization’s communications and marketing specialist. She begins her new role July 15.Rachel Buck Headshot

Buck brings to NPFM more than five years of professional experience in communications and public relations. Most recently, she served as the assistant director of athletic communications at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, managing communications efforts for six Division I sport programs. Buck performed the same role at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., and also worked as a sports information assistant for two years at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va.

Her prior professional experience includes media relations, marketing and communications work, and event management for the Wisconsin State Fair. She is an active volunteer with Special Olympics.

Buck graduated from Marquette University with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and a minor in marketing, and earned her master’s degree at Georgetown University. A native of Merrill, Wis., Buck lives in Minneapolis with her fiancé, Dan.


St. Paul offers Parkinson’s-friendly class at Phalen Rec

Congratulations to the City of St. Paul Park and Rec Department and HealthEast Capistrant Center for working together to bring Parkinson’s-friendly classes to the Park and Rec calendar.

Starting July 9 the city is offering a Parkinson’s-friendly Tai Chi Chih class Wednesday mornings at Phalen Rec Center. More information and registration details are found here.

NPFM is working to highlight Parkinson’s-friendly exercise opportunities across the region. Do you have a favorite Parkinson’s-friendly exercise we should check out? Let us know at info@parkinsonmn.org.

People with Parkinson’s tell us– and research proves–movement is medicine. Movement is key to treating symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. NPFM’s Persons with Parkinson’s Advisory Board is working to identify Parkinson’s-friendly exercise classes and programs throughout the state. The list is growing!

Note: These programs are listed for information sharing only. Please consult your movement disorders specialist and care team before beginning any exercise program. Although the programs below have been identified as “Parkinson’s friendly” by people with Parkinson’s, they are not certified or approved by NPFM.

NPFM announces Wheeler as executive director

The National Parkinson Foundation Minnesota (NFPM) announced today David B. Wheeler will join NPFM as executive director David WheelerMay 1. Wheeler, a Duluth, Minn. native, brings to NPFM a strong background in nonprofit leadership, community engagement and public service. David Wheeler

“David’s passion for helping people live well is a cornerstone of his distinguished career,” said Eileen Smith, president of the NPFM Board of Directors. “The Parkinson’s community will certainly benefit from David’s leadership and service. His experience will guide NPFM as we continue to create Parkinson’s-friendly communities that support people as they live well with this chronic disease.”

David’s family has been personally touched by Parkinson’s disease, which provides the drive to make a real difference for those living with the illness.

As president of Wheeler Consultants, Wheeler worked with nonprofit organizations and churches to strengthen annual giving, conduct capital campaigns, develop strategic plans and new programming, increase outreach and raise public visibility. He served on the Duluth City Council for three and half years and was recently re-elected to Minneapolis Board of Estimate and Taxation, where he serves as President.

In the past, Wheeler worked with United Methodists for Marriage Equity, Minnesotans United, Draw the Line Minnesota Citizen Redistricting Commission, Community Involvement Programs and Alexandra House. He also served as lead minister of Brunswick United Methodist Church in Crystal, MN, and as Minister of Invitation at Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church in Minneapolis, along with serving churches in rural, suburban and urban settings.

In addition to 30 years of involvement with Rotary, Wheeler has organized and led tours and mission groups to the United Kingdom, Palestine/Israel and Greece, Costa Rica, Russia, and India.


TPT’s Living With Parkinson’s: view entire video or segments online

If you missed the television premiere Sunday of Living With Parkinson’s on TPT, watch the entire show online. Choose to view the entire 26-minute video, or any one or all of these segments:

  • What is Parkinson’s?
  • Potential Causes
  • Symptoms and Diagnosis
  • Reaction to “The News”
  • Mental Health
  • The “Mask”
  • Exercise is Essential
  • Financial Challenges
  • Providing Care
  • Learning of Adversity

In addition, you may catch the rebroadcast Sunday, May 4, at 2 a.m., 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on TPT-MN. It will also be broadcast 12:30 p.m., May 4, on TPT Life.

NPFM produced this documentary-like video with TPT to tell the stories of people living with Parkinson’s. We know that by sharing our stories chances are we will help others with Parkinson’s live well.

We welcome your questions and comments. NPFM is here to help. Would you like someone to share your with your group? Do you or someone you know need a break from caring for a loved one with the disease? Do you want to be the first to know about our upcoming help at home or exercise grants? Feel free to end an email to info@parkinsonmn.org or call 763-545-1272.

Below is where you may find TPT in your area.


Dish DirecTv around MN etc



Annual Walk is more than just a walk for the Austins

My father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s 10 years ago. He was 54. The disease has had an impact on our entire family.

Nine years ago we participated in our first Parkinson’s walk. After five years of walking, we knew we could do more.

With the support of family and friends we organized a silent auction fundraiser. The owner of our local restaurant, The Station, is very helpful and offers us a great price on the buffet we offer as part of the event.

Many local businesses have responded to our donation requests over the years and friends and family add baskets to the mix. Each year we make more money than the year before.  A highlight this year was the addition of a live auction that went over very well. We also had a bowling benefit at the local bowling alley.

Kids are also part of the event. We have a PLINKO- type game with gifts donated by a friend with connections with the movie industry.

In the past we have had entertainment at the auction and a party bus with games and stopovers at local bars. We are continually attempting to reach more people. Each year we try something new to add to the fun.

People often ask about planning. I start thinking about next year’s event as soon as the current year’s event is completed.  I start organizing in the fall and our small group of five women meets in January to go over our plans. Another local family affected by Parkinson’s has joined in and helped with the live auction this year. It takes a little pushing on my part to get us moving, but each event has been a success.

We have raised more than $30,000 for NPFM in the four years we have held our benefit. Our goal is to raise awareness in our community and raise funds for Parkinson’s.

As the slogan says, we’re doing whatever it takes to beat Parkinson’s.

Claire Austin
Team Captain
Stomping Out Parkinson’s

Online auction, public television premiere, special donors and more highlight Parkinson’s Awareness Month activities; You’re invited!

Parkinson’s awareness month is the perfect time to help friends, family, neighbors, work colleagues and others learn more about what it takes to live well with Parkinson’s disease.  And NPFM is here to help. 

Living with Parkinson’s premieres April 22 at the Galleria Edina. People with Parkinson’s and their families, health care providers, volunteers and others are featured throughout this 26-minute video produced by NPFM in cooperation with Twin Cities Public Television and the Capistrant Parkinson’s Foundation.  The premiere is 5 to 7 p.m. at Barnes and Noble located at the east end of the Galleria Edina. Refreshments will be served. Invite your friends and family to join you for this special evening. RSVP to help us plan accordingly. TPT describes the documentary-style video saying that although the phrase “you have Parkinson’s” is difficult to hear, “for many Minnesotans, this diagnosis leads to a new stage of life with valued relationships and personal growth.”

Following the premiere, author Susan Gangsei will be signing her new book, Stuck with it, Not in It…Redefining Life with Parkinson’s Disease. The book features stories of hope from people throughout the Parkinson’s community. This is Gangsei’s second book. Her first, The Light in the Middle of the Tunnel, features personal stories about Gangsei’s experiences as a care partner.

Parkinson’s Awareness Month is also the time of year when NPFM celebrates the Parkinson’s community and thanks those who do whatever it takes to beat Parkinson’s.  We started the month at the City of Minneapolis City Council meeting where the Council read a resolution proclaiming April as Parkinson’s Awareness Month.  The resolution was followed by our annual Evening Out for Parkinson’s West, an evening of good food, music, a silent auction and medical update. Once again people with Parkinson’s, family and friends didn’t let a Minnesota snow storm stop them from enjoying a beautiful evening.

KARE11’s Dave Schwartz is taking advantage of Parkinson’s Awareness Month to raise awareness and funds for NPFM with Buy Dave’s Ties. Schwartz and his family have been personally affected by Parkinson’s and in honor of his grandmother, Sylvia, he will be wearing a new Hammer-Made silk tie during every weekend broadcast through April 19. Each tie is being auctioned off on eBay and NPFM receives all proceeds.  Follow the auction on the NPFM Facebook page or search Buy Dave’s Ties on eBay. And thank you to Hammer Made for donating the gorgeous ties again this year.

Next week, April 15 to be exact, the 35W St. Anthony Falls Bridge will glow blue in honor of Parkinson’s Awareness Month. You’ll see three shades of NPF blue and Medtronic’s blue on the bridge.  NPFM is excited to have our partner Medtronic as part of this event. While bridge is shining, NPFM is celebrating its Top Parkinson’s Philanthropists. These regular, yet very special people will be highlighted in our social media telling their own story about why they raise money for Parkinson’s and why they chose to give to NPFM. Their stories are your stories.  We believe they will help make communities more Parkinson-friendly.  Again, watch our Facebook page for details.

And finally, we end our awareness month activities with our biggest fund raising and fun-filled event of the year, Moving Day Twin Cities, our annual walk for Parkinson’s. Find out more here, register your team and join us May 3 at beautiful Hilde Park in Plymouth.

NPFM staff and volunteers have been working to celebrate Parkinson’s Awareness Month and take advantage of the opportunity to draw attention to Parkinson’s. What do you do to help create more awareness about Parkinson’s in our communities? Please share your ideas.

-Eileen Smith

NPFM Board President


Leadership candidates sought for NPFM

During its February meeting, the NFPM Board of Directors formed a search committee and charged it with conducting a search for a leader to help the organization continue to grow and enhance the lives of people living with Parkinson’s disease. Leading the search is Kent Eklund, vice president of the Board. Serving on the committee are Barb Green, Connie Perpich and Paul Blom.

Please share this opportunity with friends, relatives and colleagues. The application deadline is March 15, 2014. More information is below.



The Board of Directions of the National Parkinson Foundation Minnesota (NPFM) announces the opening of its executive director position. NPFM is a chapter affiliate of the National Parkinson Foundation and is on its way to becoming the most impressive and dynamic nonprofit organization in the region to positively impact the lives of families living with Parkinson’s disease. Our work includes creating Parkinson’s-friendly communities, a family grant program, and backing care improvement, outreach, education and support initiatives across the region. NPFM increases understanding of Parkinson’s disease and also shines light on the critical need for community support. NPFM volunteers, staff and community love being involved because we produce tangible results, express gratitude and create a fun atmosphere while building Parkinson’s-friendly communities.

The successful candidate is a strong yet collaborative and inspiring leader who has demonstrated success working with an active volunteer Board of Directors and small staff. The candidate is organized, goal-oriented and able to multi-task without neglecting management duties. The ideal candidate has demonstrated an ability to develop community partnership and is comfortable representing the organization with the Parkinson’s community, health care organizations, corporations, philanthropists and other stakeholders. The ideal candidate has experience creating and implementing a targeted case for funding. The candidate is a generalist in the truest sense of the word, doing everything from developing overall organizational strategy to budgeting, to marketing, to serving on various committees and leading advisory boards to implement desired outcomes. Finally, the candidate demonstrates exceptional communication, time management and accounting skills.

The role requires a history of success in leading nonprofit organizations or related experience, ability to work occasional evening and weekend hours and a Bachelor’s degree at minimum.

Interested candidates should forward a letter of introduction and a resume to NPFM Search Committee, 5905 Golden Valley Road, Suite 237, Golden Valley, MN 55422 or to info@parkinsonmn.org. The deadline for submission is March 15, 2014.


1 2 3 4 5 6