WPC Opening Night

This is a tremor free zone.  You are free to shake and shuffle as much as you want

Jon Stoessl MD, WPC 2016 Co-Chair

 

Over 4300 people, from 67 countries, gathered this evening at the Portland Convention Center for the kick-off of the 4th World Parkinson Congress 2016.  The program began with the Parkinson’s Choir, who rehearsed via the internet.  They were very impressive.  And they certainly didn’t need me ( I am tone deaf when it comes to singing).

Dr. Jon Stoessl and co-chair  Dr. Serge Przedborski greeted the crowd, saying that  we are all here for the same reason, to learn new knowledge with people who share the same goal – to find a cure for Parkinson’s.

Former NBA Basketball player, Brian Grant was inspirational.  When diagnosed with PD, he made a commitment to help others through his foundation.  He said “I fight knowing I can win.  I don’t stand alone.”  He then introduced the winner of the video competition, Lori Campbell, whose video Victory is about putting together a toolbox to fight Parkinson’s, which was based on a suggestion by a health care professional.

May May Ali, daughter of boxing great, Muhammad Ali, wowed the crowd by telling her father’s story and then recited a beautiful poem “Pearl” which she wrote about her father.*

The last award of the evening was the People’s Choice Award, which was for the video Dance Through Life by Dr. Rafi Eldor from Israel.  The video shows how he fought the stiffness and other symptoms of PD with Ballroom Dance and eventually created dance programs all over Israel for others with PD.

Lot’s to see and learn tomorrow.

  •  “Pearl”
    By Maryum “May May” Ali

    What a hero he is to me but more so heroic in the face of adversity.
    Lightning speed within a square ring turned into slow imbalances while praying for nights like yesteryear spotlights on
    The Ali Shuffle.

    The rope-a-dope fight is now a rope-a-dopamine battle.
    Parkinson’s – akin to traversing upstream in a canoe with a leaking hole without a paddle.
    Yes, it is a struggle, but what I admire about my father is his determination to not let symptoms defeat his soul and refusing Parkinson’s to retreat him into darkness taking its toll.
    Throughout diseased phases, he maintained divine praises to his Creator,
    and I witnessed in the early stages his ability to still raise his once powerful fist despite recurrent shaking.
    That shaking.

    Reminds me of the famous Cassius Clay quote after Sonny Liston choked, “I shook up the world!”
    Yes, Dad, you are a pearl imbedded in the oyster of life, protected by your faith and elevated through social strife.
    Standing up for the right to be the man you manifested.
    Politically unrested, you tested all waters until the tides waved your way to whisper in your ear,
    “You know God’s humanity.”

    Now you stand with a walker. No vanity.  Now a softer talker if you talk at all.
    But what remains the same is your spiritual stance, a presence remaining tall.
    I am so inspired by your choice to live your life to the fullest it can be
    with over 30 years of PD riding heavily on your back.
    From your earliest days to your latest, you haven’t wavered your love of self.
    Your eyes still sparkling like the day you proclaimed,
    “I Am The Greatest!”

 

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