November is Caregiver Appreciation Month

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As the calendar turns to November, we would like to take a moment to recognize and thank caregivers during National Caregivers Month.

Caregivers play an important role in the well-being of those living with Parkinson’s, and the wonderful work they do on a daily basis may often times be overlooked.

Which is why November is an important month to put aside some time to recognize caregivers you know and show them your appreciation. From providing a day of respite, to acting as a sounding board or just helping with small things around the house, there are many ways individuals can show their family caregiver appreciation.

Need some ideas? Here is a list of 30 Ways to Honor Caregivers from our national headquarters.

A new initiative launched by NPFM, CareMAP, is a great resource center for caregivers, especially those living with advanced Parkinson’s. The website has a local tie, with Struthers Parkinson’s Center’s Rose Wichmann and Joan Gardner helping bring the project to life.

Like to the Max!

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Give to the Max day is rapidly approaching and we are gearing up with our “Like to the Max!” campaign!

Help us get to over 1,000 followers on Facebook! Visit, like our page and get all of your friends and family to like our page by October 30. If we reach 1,000 likes we will have a special announcement regarding Give to the Max.

So get out there, share our page and help us spread our mission of helping those living with PD in the state of Minnesota!

November 13 is Give to the Max Day

Donate Widget

Every Face Has a Different Story. Help us tell those stories and improve the lives of those living with Parkinson’s in Minnesota.

If you’ve met one patient with Parkinson’s, you’ve only begun to hear the story of PD.

Parkinson’s disease, a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system, affects over 25,000 people in the state of Minnesota. The North Star State ranks third nationally in its per-capita population affected by PD, trailing only its neighbors North Dakota and South Dakota.

While symptoms may appear similar in PD patients, how and when they affect each patient varies vastly. Every face tells a different story.

There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease. But at the National Parkinson Foundation Minnesota (NPFM), we are dedicated to helping improve the lives of those living with PD. Through outreach events, educational materials and support, NPFM partners not only with patients, but caregivers, the medical and research community and support groups to enrich lives of those directly impacted by PD.

Your generous gift stays in Minnesota to help us enable more patients, engage a larger community and elevate our voice.  

We are greatful and appreciative of your support.

Here’s a look at our #GTM14 lineup!
We will have two four-hour blocks dedicated solely to our special projects, Parkinson-Friendly Communities and Parkinson Support Grants.

– 8:00 a.m.-noon will be our Parkinson-Friendly Communities focus, with all funds going toward our PFC initiative to help raise awareness and provide outreach across greater Minnesota. Visit the page at

– 4:00-8:00 p.m. will be our focus on Parkinson Support Grants, an annual $500 grant program for those living with PD to assist in respite care, help-at-home and exercise. Visit the page at

We will also have several prize giveaways throughout the day!
 Be sure to check out our Facebook page throughout the day for more details on the giveaway items and hourly updates on our donation progress!

– 4:00-8:00 a.m. – All donations received between those hours will be eligible to win a Parkinson’s blanket and resource books

– 8:00 a.m.-noon – All donations received during our PFC power hours will be eligible to win one of two $75 Visa gift cards

– Noon-4:00 p.m. – All donations received between those hours will be eligible to win a dinner and a movie package, with a gift certificate to Ham’s Sandwich Shop in Minnetonka and movie passes from AMC

– 4:00-8:00 p.m. – All donations received during our Parkinson Assistance Grants power hours will be eligible to win a basketball autographed by Minnesota men’s basketball head coach Richard Pitino and two tickets to the Gophers game versus Purdue on February 7



Parkinson-Friendly Communities coming to Mankato


When: Tuesday, September 30, 5:00-6:00 p.m.
Where: VINE Adult Community Center, 421 E. Hickory Street, Mankato
Register: Call 763.545.1272 or email

NPFM welcomes those living with Parkinson’s and the entire greater-Mankato area to learn more about the organization and its efforts to work with the community to make it more Parkinson-Friendly through outreach, education and events.

NPFM is the Minnesota chapter of the National Parkinson Foundation, operating as a local nonprofit working to raise awareness and funds for the upper Midwest Parkinson’s community. The organization works to better the lives of those living and impacted by PD through outreach and providing resources.

The creation of Parkinson-Friendly communities is possible through a generous grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation. The effort works to ensure individuals and families touched by Parkinson’s remain vibrant, engaged members of our communities. NPFM has been working in several communities around the state including Alexandria, Willmar and Fargo, and are excited to expand into Mankato.


NPFM Accepts #PieItForward Challenge


Over 25,000 people are living with Parkinson’s in the state of Minnesota, the third-highest per-capita total in the United States.

Working alongside the National Parkinson Foundation, NPF Minnesota decided to help raise awareness and funds for Parkinson’s by participating in the #pieitforward campaign.

To kick off the campaign, executive director David Wheeler and past president Paul Blom accepted the challenge. Watch their video for inspiration and to see who they challenged, then join the effort by following the instructions below!

Want to do Whatever It Takes to Beat Parkinson’s?
To show your support for Parkinson’s? Here are the few easy steps.

1. All those challenged must take a whipped cream pie to the face.

2. When you complete your challenge, the person who challenged you must then donate to the cause. You may also challenge more individuals to participate and help spread awareness!

3. Be sure to share your videos on your favorite social media networks using #PieItForward – then send us the link to your video!

Donations can be made directly to NPFM to help our mission to raise awareness and provide outreach opportunities in the state of Minnesota. Please specify your donation as #pieitforward challenge when submitting.

Donations can also be made to our national office.

We look forward to seeing your best videos for a great cause, Minnesota!

Parkinson Friendly Communities Update

The National Parkinson Foundation Minnesota has been active across greater Minnesota, helping to create Parkinson Friendly Communities in Fargo, N.D., Alexandria and Willmar, and this year expanded its efforts in St. Cloud and Mankato.

Through a generous grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation, NPFM has been working towards creating awareness about PD in a state that ranks third in the nation in Parkinson’s patients per capita.

Here’s a look at what NPFM has been up to in each community, in addition to a look forward.

Fargo: NPFM hosted guest speaker Liz Ogren, founder of Pedal and Roll, for a community biking and informational session. Training events for medical staff were also hosted.

Alexandria: TULIPS training for caregiving staff was provided; hosted a Nordic walking event, including training for staff; provided Nordic walking poles for the community to use indoors and outdoors to help stay active.

Willmar: Training for physical and speech therapists in the LSVT BIG and LOUD programs; an adaptive walking path was constructed to help people learn to navigate different walking surfaces and complete household tasks; NPFM paired with Liz Ogren for a two-day event, highlighted by a “Prospering with Parkinson’s” discussion on day one followed by a Pedal and Roll event on day two, allowing individuals to utilize adaptive bikes and Nordic walking poles.

St. Cloud: NPFM has been received well in the community. Several guest speakers have been lined up, and individuals in the community are currently working with NPFM to have PD-specific exercise training brought to the area.

Mankato: NPFM has made its first steps in the community, including providing guest speaker Susan Gangsei for National Caregivers Month in November.

Parkinson Friendly Community: Willmar

The National Parkinson Foundation, through a generous grant from the Otto Bremmer Foundation, spent Thursday and Friday in Willmar encouraging the community to get active while learning about PD as a part of the Parkinson Friendly Community initiative.

A Thursday evening presentation about the benefits of exercise preceded a two-hour pedaling and Nordic walking event at Robbins Island. More than 20 individuals from the greater Willmar community turned out to get active and enjoy a beautiful Friday.

Thanks to Club Bethesda, Liz Ogren and Pedal and Roll and the Otto Bremmer Foundation for making the two-day event possible.

Star Tribune: Parkinson’s and depression

JackieNPFM was thrilled to connect Star Tribune reporter Jeremy Olson to local experts for today’s story about  Parkinson’s and depression.  Jackie Christensen, Liz Ogren, Dr. Martha Nance and Dr. Steven Stein are generous NPFM volunteers, helping people with PD live well.

While many people likely recognize tremors and difficulty walking as part of the illness, depression is one of many non-motor symptoms. Don’t wait to access the many education and support resources available locally. More than 25,000 Minnesotans live with Parkinson’s disease (PD), the third highest incidence per capita in the country. If you don’t find what you need on our website, please contact our office. We are here to help.



NPFM Clinical Advisory Board Statement Regarding Robin Williams

A message from Dr. Martha Nance, chair of the Clinical Advisory Board for the National Parkinson Foundation of Minnesota:

The Minnesota Parkinson’s disease medical community, like the rest if the country, is grieving the recent death of Robin Williams. Even more, we are saddened by the tragic manner if his death. Depression is common in people with Parkinson’s disease, but like many symptoms of the disease, it is often quite treatable.

Many people lead a rewarding and active life for many years after a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.  If you think you might have Parkinson’s disease, make an appointment with a Parkinson’s specialist to get an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment: Parkinson Disease Specialists.

And if you are depressed, uncertain, lost, or panicky after a diagnosis of Parkinson’s, or if the recent revelation about Robin Williams has sent you into a tailspin, call your primary care physician, your neurologist, or a mental health specialist for help. Let us hope that Mr. Williams’ tragic death will help others to live better.

Dr. Martha Nance, chair of the NPFM Clinical Advisory Board and medical director of the Struthers Parkinson's Center in Golden Valley, a NPF Center of Excellence.

Dr. Martha Nance, chair of the NPFM Clinical Advisory Board and medical director of the Struthers Parkinson’s Center in Golden Valley, a NPF Center of Excellence.

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


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