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Symposium for Young People Living with Parkinson's Feb. 28

   Portland, Ore.

Event will help patients manage the neurological disease through exercise, networking

A symposium in Portland Feb. 28 will give young people living with Parkinson's disease ideas on how to cope with the neurological disorder.

The event is from 8:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. at the Doubletree Hotel & Executive Meeting Center-Lloyd Center, 1000 N.E. Multnomah St. It was created to address the needs of young people living with Parkinson's disease and help them develop friendships. Speakers include:

• Holly Chaimov, executive director of Parkinson's Resources of Oregon (PRO). PRO has been providing support, advocacy and education to people living with Parkinson's disease since 1980.

• Lloyd Hammer, 52, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2002. A co-facilitator of the Newly Diagnosed Support Group #2 in Portland, he draws upon his experience as a cancer survivor to help others in their search for support.

• Casey Martin, who will discuss in a personal interview his experience as a professional golfer on the PGA tour to excel in spite of the limitations posed by a birth defect in his right leg known as Klippel-Trenaunay-Webber Syndrome.

• Christine Meadows, an attorney with Jordan Schrader in Lake Oswego.

• Mishele Mennett, who has a master's degree in fine arts in dance, is a licensed massage therapist and a certified advanced Pilates trainer. She works with clients who have Parkinson's disease, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, or who simply need help regaining their movement.

• John Nutt, M.D., director and co-founder of the Parkinson Center of Oregon at OHSU and the Parkinson's Disease Research, Education and Clinical Center at the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

• Al Siebert, Ph.D., an ex-paratrooper who has taught seminars in management psychology at Portland State University for more than 30 years and has more than 25 years experience conducting workshops for corporations, health care groups, educators and government employees.

• John White, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1990 at age 37. Today he runs, plays basketball in an over-50 league, enjoys golf and does at least 20 minutes of Pilates a day to maintain and improve strength, balance and flexibility.

The symposium will cover a variety of topics that young people with Parkinson's disease can use to help manage the disease. They include: "Developing a Strong, Resilient Spirit"; "The Benefit of Exercise in Parkinson's Disease: A Personal Perspective"; "The Ins and Outs of Filing for Disability"; "Introductory Pilates Class"; "Creating a Supportive Network"; and "Impact of Chronic Illness on Family". There also will be an update on Parkinson's research and a patient panel.

According to the National Parkinson Foundation, the average age of the onset of Parkinson's disease is 55, with 15 percent of patients diagnosed younger than 50. The disease often goes unrecognized for several years after symptoms first appear because doctors don't expect to find the disease in people in their 30s and 40s.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke found that at least 500,000 people are believed to be affected by Parkinson's disease, and about 50,000 new cases are reported annually. These figures are expected to increase as the average age of the population increases, and the disorder appears to be slightly more common in men than women.

Registration for the symposium, which includes a meal, is $25. Call 503 494-9054 for details.

The Parkinson Center of Oregon is a National Parkinson Foundation Center of Excellence. Visit for more information.

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