NWI Parkinson’s hosting annual summer event on August 11

NWI Parkinson's Inc.

Elizabeth Woodbury’s dog, Diesel, has become the mascot for NWI Parkinson’s Inc. The organization was founded after Woodbury was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2004. (Pictured: Don Nadgeman and Elizabeth Woodbury).

HIGHLAND — Members from NWI Parkinson’s Inc. encourage people to celebrate the organization’s upcoming summer wellness party and grand re-opening in August.

“This is a family group,” Vice Chairman Don Nagdeman said. “We thrive on fun and look forward to this every year.”

NWI Parkinson’s goal is to make people more aware of Parkinson’s, and to help those who’ve been diagnosed cope with the disease. The 501(c)(3) organization has grown to serve more than 2,000 people annually, Nagdeman said.

“We started off crawling, then we got to walking. I feel like we’re in the running stage now,” he said proudly.

The organization recently completed renovations to the upstairs of its building, which was purchased on Jan. 17, 2017. Renovations include the addition of a ping-pong room, social room and reiki room. Reiki is an energy healing technique that involves the use of gentle hand movements to reduce stress, according to Everyday Health.

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The new rooms will be unveiled at the seventh annual summer wellness party on Friday, Aug. 11, beginning at 5 p.m., at the NWI Parkinson’s building, 2927 Jewett Ave. in Highland. This event will be co-opted by the Highland-Griffith, and Munster chamber of commerce’s.

Food and drinks will be provided by Abbvie, Boston Scientific, Supernus Pharmaceuticals, and Malt Brothers Brewing. The band, Father and Sons, will begin performing at 8 p.m. (To rsvp for the free event, call the NWI Parkinson’s office at 219-237-2342.)

NWI Parkinson’s was founded by Elizabeth Woodbury, after she was diagnosed with the disease in 2004. Woodbury, nicknamed Libby, said it’s wonderful being able to talk about the disease with those who understand the effects firsthand.

“I think there’s a lot of people who have Parkinson’s that would enjoy this,” Woodbury said at the NWI Parkinson’s building. “You can relate to us. You can understand us.” 

About 90,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with Parkinson’s every year, according to the Parkinson’s Foundation. The disease affects around 10 million people, but the cause remains largely unknown. Common symptoms include tremors, limb stiffness, balance problems, slowness and paucity of movement.

NWI Parkinson’s offers free exercise classes, weekly discussion groups, support groups and monthly educational seminars to patients. Two fundraisers a year, including a fashion show and dinner dance, allow the organization to offer classes and seminars to patients and their families at no-cost. (To learn more visit nwiparkinson.org.)

Dolores Siwy, of Calumet City, attends classes provided by the organization four times a week. Siwy, 77, is excited for the summer wellness party because she enjoys seeing people who she doesn’t always see in class.

Woodbury and Nagdeman are hoping the upcoming event will continue spreading awareness about Parkinson’s across Northwest Indiana. 

“We just want to get the word out that we are here,” Nagdeman said. “There’s nothing we won’t do to help Parkinson patients.”


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