Jo Rosen, founder and president of Parkinson’s Resource Organization (PRO) is stepping down at the end of December after 34 years.
“We have finally reached a point that PRO is sustainable after the pandemic,” Rosen says. “We now have the staff under the fine leadership of Eileen Lynch to fulfill our mission. Eileen has been appointed executive director and will handle all day-to-day operations.
“I am so proud to have built an organization that adds value to so many lives and that endured for 34 years and will endure until there is a cure for Parkinson’s,” Rosen says. “I’m moving on to new challenges while retaining my association with PRO and will continue to serve the Parkinson’s community. At the same time, I am still furious that I have watched billions of dollars diverted to as yet unrealized research for a cure — while direct human service endeavors like PRO scrape by on pennies.”
When Rosen started Parkinson’s Resource Organization 34 years ago, she knew virtually nothing about Parkinson’s disease, “although we were told a cure was less than five years ahead and this gave me hope,” she says. “I knew my mother had it, my then-fiancé had it, but it was difficult to get information from doctors and scientists. After all, I was ‘just a caregiver.’ I made a deal with God that if she would teach me everything I needed to know about ‘quality of life’ for my mother and Alan, I would share it with the world. I created an organization, gave myself a title — president — and voila … doctors, scientists and other professionals in-the-know started giving me the time of day. Needless to say, we are still seeking a cure.”
Currently, PRO serves tens of thousands of people with Parkinson’s and caregivers in Coachella Valley and across the country.
“I cannot tell you what a profound influence Jo has had on me over the years,” says William Remery, vice president of PRO’s board of directors. “Jo has inspired me and countless others to look beyond the limitations and medical challenges inherent in Parkinson’s Disease and find ways to improve the quality of life for both the Parkinsonian and those closest to that person.
“When I started working with Jo, PRO was reaching hundreds of people through the support groups, newsletters and person-to-person information and referrals over the phone. Due to Jo’s vision and perseverance, PRO now reaches tens of thousands of people throughout the country, bringing that hope, information and attention to the Parkinson’s community.”
“Jo has been a passionate and powerful mentor,” Lynch says. “Because of her creativity and leadership, we at Parkinson’s Resource Organization have an incredible base to build on.”
The organization runs 20+ support groups a month for Parkinson’s caregivers and families including mindfulness, grief and movement practices and delivers the longest-running monthly newsletter for the Parkinson’s world. In addition, a robust Wellness Village Resource Directory connects today’s Parkinson’s families with services and providers to improve quality of life.
Learn more at parkinsonsresource.org.
Stuart Rowlands is new to the desert and the Parkinson’s Resource Organization team. He brings more the 45 years’ experience in sports, diplomacy, music and corporate national and international public relations for such clients as Colgate Palmolive, ESPN, Ghana Govt., IMG, Nobel Peace Prize and the Quebec Ministry of Tourism. He can be reached at (323) 595-9969 or [email protected].