Posted by Nancy Mazonson
“For me, JF&CS is a safe harbor, a place where I can learn from experts and feel the camaraderie of others as I live my life with Parkinson’s disease.” This message, from one of our early participants of the Parkinson’s dance program, echoes a message we frequently hear from families who participate in the JF&CS Parkinson’s Family Support program. In all of our programs - dance, singing, support groups, or educational programming - we strive to create community. June has been an exciting month as we widened our reach to embrace larger communities in the Parkinson’s disease (PD) world.
At the beginning of the month we hosted the first New England regional gathering of Dance for Parkinson’s teachers. This passionate group of instructors, all of whom trained with the Mark Morris Dance for PD program in Brooklyn, NY came from New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Maine, and across Massachusetts to collaborate and share successes and challenges they have encountered working with PD communities where they live. We were proud to share our enormous successes at JF&CS and learn from others so that we can continue to provide cutting-edge programming. At the conclusion of the day, the teachers hugged one another and asked when we will meet again.
This month, JF&CS also hosted the Michael J. Fox Foundation and Boston University Medical Center staff for an educational program entitled, “Is Parkinson’s a Jewish Genetic Disease?” A new research effort is being launched in Boston, and we were happy to host members of the Jewish community to educate themselves about PD.
We are proud to be widening the circles of our community by creating relationships with local and national organizations as we all work to make a difference for families living with PD.
Nancy Mazonson, MS, OTR/L, has coordinated the Parkinson's Family Support program of JF&CS since its inception in September 2006. The program is a leading resource in the Boston area with its unique programs, including Parkinson’s Dance, Adult Child and Care Partner support groups, and Tremble Clefs choral singing group. Prior to her work at JF&CS, Nancy worked extensively as an occupational therapist in inpatient and community-based rehabilitation settings, specializing in helping people with degenerative neurological conditions.