Senate Declares April Parkinson's Awareness Month

Parkinson's Awareness Month Recognized by U.S. Senate and House, Advocates Educate in Local Communities

April is Parkinson's Awareness Month, and Parkinson's advocates across the country have received official proclamations from their mayors and governors officially designating the month.

The good news is, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have also weighed in with their support again this year.

On Thursday, April 25, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution proclaiming April Parkinson's Awareness Month.  The full text of the resolution can be found here.

Introduced by the Senate Co-Chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Parkinson's Disease -- Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Mark Udall (D-CO) -- the resolution recognizes April as Parkinson's Awareness Month and commends the Parkinson's community for its dedication in working to improve the quality of life of persons living with Parkinson's disease and their families.

Senator Stabenow led the resolution's introduction and said, “I am pleased the Senate has recognized April as Parkinson’s Awareness Month.  As many as 1.5 million Americans are living with this devastating and debilitating disease, and we must continue to support medical research that could lead to breakthrough treatments.  This month we recognize those affected by Parkinson’s and their families, and work toward finding a cure.”

On Wednesday, April 10, the U.S. House Co-Chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Parkinson's Disease -- Representatives Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), and Peter King (R-NY) -- introduced House Resolution 149 calling for the designation of April as Parkinson’s Awareness Month.  We are grateful for the Co-Chairs' efforts in this regard and for their continued efforts to raise awareness of Parkinson’s disease.

Congresswoman Maloney led the introduction of the House resolution, and in her statement on the U.S. House floor she said, "As the loved one of someone afflicted by Parkinson's disease, I witnessed personally the effect of Parkinson's disease on my father.  As a result, I know first-hand we must provide support to the loved ones, caregivers, and researchers attempting to improve the welfare of those living with Parkinson's disease and their families."

Congressman Van Hollen wrote in a media statement, “Designating April as Parkinson’s Awareness Month is an important part of our strategy to focus more attention and resources toward fighting this disease.  This is not the time to slash federal funding for agencies like the National Institutes of Health and close the door on promising research and new discoveries to treat Parkinson’s. We must replace the sequester with a balanced plan that protects critical investments in our future.”

Congressman King added, “As the second most common neurological condition it is imperative that we maintain not only an awareness of the devastating impact of Parkinson’s disease but a commitment to find a cure."

The Parkinson's Action Network applauds all local, state, and now federal entities that have recognized April as Parkinson's Awareness Month.  We also applaud each and every one of you who are out there raising awareness and educating your communities about Parkinson's disease and the need for federal research funding and strong policies in place to support better quality of life for those living with the disease.  

"I was diagnosed seven years ago with Parkinson's at age 51," said Glenn Peterson, PAN's Assistant State Director in Illinois. "While I keep hoping that a cure will be found in my lifetime, I am advocating hard this month -- and every month -- for federal research funding because I dream that one day we can put Parkinson's in the history books."

"Those of us who care for a loved one with Parkinson's are thankful for the Senate and House co-chairs of the Caucus for their efforts to recognize April as Parkinson's Awareness Month," said Lisa Bain, PAN's Idaho State Director.  "When you live with a debilitating, awful disease like Parkinson's, every month is Parkinson's Awareness Month in our house.  My family and the Parkinson's community here in Idaho and across the country are grateful for congressional support of awareness, and we hope it will also translate into support for increased funding for Parkinson's disease research in the upcoming budget discussions."

You can learn more about what Glenn, Lisa, and other PAN advocates are doing for Parkinson's Awareness Month by checking out our Facebook page and following us on Twitter.  Feel free to email us at [email protected] to tell us what you're doing to raise awareness during the month of April - we'd love to hear from you!

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Date originally posted: April 26, 2013.