Posted by Nancy Mazonson

The joy and inspiration of Parkinson's dance is palpable on Wednesdays at JF&CS when families join dance instructor Art Sullivan for a weekly dance class. Stiffened bodies loosen, feet begin to tap, and smiles erupt as the music fills the room. The inspiration of the Parkinson's dance class, we now know, has been felt in other ways. Back in November 2008, Johnny Diaz, a Boston Globe staff writer, visited our dance class and wrote a poignant article which appeared on the Globe's front page. Recently, I received the following email from Johnny:

I am writing you because I was so inspired by the class and all the good work that it did that I wrote a novel about a fictional Boston college writing professor who tries to help his dad who has Parkinson's. The professor learns of such a dance class and realizes that this may be a way to help his dad better cope with the disease in South Florida.

The characters and the class in the book are all fictional. The class in the book has a different location, dance instructor, and participants but the theme of your class is there - giving people a social and physical outlet to fight back against the disease.

Anyway, I wanted to share news of the book with you as I go around and tell people about Parkinson's disease and the personal impact it has had on me. (My father has had the condition since 2000 and continues to struggle with it.)

Learn more about Johnny Diaz and his new book.

Offering support and inspiration to all family members whose lives are affected by Parkinson's disease is what we do in real life, and now in the world of fiction as well!

Nancy Mazonson has coordinated JF&CS Parkinson's Family Support Program 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 in inpatient and community-based rehabilitation settings, specializing in helping people with degenerative neurological conditions.