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Department of Occupational Therapy

Parkinson's Optimism Walk

Every 9 minutes someone is diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. The Massachusetts Chapter of the American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA), whose motto is "Strength in Optimism, Hope in Progress" supports the national mission to provide outstanding patient services and educational programs, elevate public awareness about the disease, and support research designed to unlock the mysteries of Parkinson’s disease and ultimately put an end to this disease.

Linda Tickle-Degnen and Martha Werler at Parkinson Optimism WalkLinda Tickle-Degnen, as a member of the Tufts SOTA Team, is shown (incognito in blue) walking with her her good friend, Martha Werler (in pink) who is Chair of Epidemiology of Boston University’s School of Public Health.

The annual Optimism Walk contributes to the Chapter’s ability to provide grants to these programs. The MA Chapter funds many local wellness, support and educational initiatives. For the past four of its five years, the annual workshops of Tufts Dance for Healthy Aging with Parkinson’s Disease have received significant grant funding from the Chapter.

Linda-Tickle Degnen and student research assistants in her Health Quality of Life Lab have been participating and raising funds for the Chapter for many years.

This year Tufts SOTA was our fundraising team for the first VIRTUAL Optimism walk, where all participants walked remotely and safely. The Tufts Student OT Association Team, captained by OTD-EL Lauren Nowak, collectively raised $1870 in donations for the Chapter.

Linda walked in honor of her grandparents who lived with Parkinson’s disease before there were helpful medication alternatives, and her mother (their daughter), whose experiences inspired Linda to become an occupational therapist, a teacher, and a researcher. Linda also walked to express her respect to others living with Parkinson’s, and to those who have participated in her over 40 years of research on Parkinson’s disease and disorders that affect facial expression, meaningful participation, and quality of life.

The entire Tufts team was pleased to be able to support APDA MA Chapter and all the great work the Chapter does for the entire PD community.  Optimism is exactly what the APDA MA chapter creates, and we all need a good and consistent dose of that!"

Mike Stevenson, Health Quality of Life LabMike Stevenson, Project Coordinator, Health Quality of Life Lab