Periodically PAN highlights one of our tireless volunteer advocates. PAN thanks all our advocates for your commitment and contributions to the Parkinson’s community. This week we are highlighting Kimerly Coshow, North Florida State Director.
Despite a Parkinson’s diagnosis at a young age, Kimerly (Kim) Coshow has managed to keep a very positive attitude.
“Life is a comedy routine, you can either choose to participate in the comedy or not,” she said.
Kim was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2002. Shortly afterward, her grandmother lost her battle with the disease. It was a trying time for Kim, who said she was juggling being a mother of a young child and managing two businesses. She said using advocacy as an outlet really helped her manage her disease and bring hope to others.
Currently, Kim serves as the North Florida State Director and is also on the PAN Grassroots Advisory Board. The board is a group of 10 grassroots leaders who participate in various aspects of PAN’s decision making and provide critical feedback about the evolving needs of the Parkinson’s community. She was also an instrumental part of re-launching PAN’s grassroots program in 2012.
But Kim’s true passion is her community work in St. Augustine, Florida. In her small Florida community, Kim has organized fundraisers, awareness events, and support groups. In fact, one of her fundraising walks called, Flip Flop Til You Drop, became such a successful event that eventually outgrew its space on the beaches of St. Augustine.
She’s also used her creativity to come up with different ways to raise funds for PAN and the National Parkinson Foundation. One example of her creativity has been her initiative to collect and sell old conference t-shirts. She and Michelle Lane, PAN’s Louisiana State Director, have teamed up to ask people who attend various Parkinson’s related conferences and walks around the country to send them extra boxes of t-shirts. Kim and Michelle then sell those t-shirts and send the proceeds to organizations like PAN.
Kim (left) speaks to attendees at the PAN booth at the
2013 Southeastern Parkinson Disease Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.
“Without fundraising, we would have little ability to carry our voices any further than our local communities,” Kim said.
In addition to her fundraising work, Kim said she’s enjoyed working with Members of Congress and their staff in Florida. She encourages people who are just getting involved in advocacy to not to be intimidated by the idea of meeting with an elected official and instead think of themselves as their partners.
“Never give up, and always be a positive representative of PAN,” Kim said. “You are also a constituent and you have a right to contact a Member of Congress and voice your feelings about specific issues, and never take no for an answer.”
To contact Kim or other PAN advocates, visit www.ParkinsonsAction.org/your-voice/pan-your-state .
Date originally posted: January 3, 2014.