World Parkinson Congress Day 1 – WPC2019 | 11
I am in Kyoto, Japan for the 5th World Parkinson Congress (WPC). WPC is a global Parkinson’s event, which is held every three years and it opens its doors to all members of the Parkinson’s community, from neurologists and researchers to those living with the disease.
Opening ceremonies were held on June 4, 2019 at the Kyoto International Conference Center. More than 2,600 registrants are in attendance from 65 different countries. The keynote of the opening ceremonies was reserved for the widow and care partner of one of the great Parkinson’s advocates of all time. Tom Isaacs was full of hope, humour and optimism, despite his Parkinson’s diagnosis. He died suddenly in 2017. His wife, Lindsey Isaacs, offered a real and raw insight into the care partners’ plight.
“As Tom’s Parkinson’s progressed life got harder for everyone involved.” She continued, “For me, hope, humour and optimism were no longer enough. I became irritable and anxious about everything. I felt like a complete failure. I was his wife. I had been a trained nurse. And I am an acupuncturist. I believed I should’ve been able to cope with whatever our life through at us.” It was in that dark moment that she realized it was okay to get help. And she did. It’s was a message that seemed to resonate with care partners in attendance and one that deserved the spotlight at WPC.
Prior to opening ceremonies, there was a pre-congress course on activism and advocacy. In the podcast I sit down with the course leader Tim Hague. Hague and his son won the first season of Amazing Race Canada after his diagnosis. He’s authored the book Perseverance: The Seven Skills You Need to Survive, Thrive, and Accomplish More Than You Ever Imagined and he’s the founder of U-Turn Parkinson’s in Canada. In addition, I invited four attendees to the discussion patient advocate and blogger Heather Kennedy from San Francisco, Dr. Sarah King, PT, DPT of Austin, Texas is founder of Invigorate Physical Therapy, Dr. Siva Shanthipriya is a person with Parkinson’s from India, and Brian Toronyi is a person with Parkinson’s from Grand Rapids, Michigan . We discussed the role of advocacy in Parkinson’s especially as it relates to wellness and research. Toronyi made an impassioned pleas during the course and again on the podcast, that we need to change narrative around Parkinson’s. As a community, we’re quick say Parkinson’s isn’t going to kill us. Toronyi and others like him suggest the opposite is true. Parkinson’s is killing us, slowly, methodically, and degenerately. He says, “We don’t know when we’re going to die, but it’s like a ticking time bomb.”
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For more info on the World Parkinson Congress head to www.WPC2019.org