Why Should You Attend the World Parkinsons Congress in Barcelona?

I learned things in the seminars of course, but more importantly I made connections with people.

Ethel Meyer

I have been privileged to attend the last two World Parkinsons Congresses in Portland (2016) and Kyoto (2019). I have to say that it was a transformational experience, especially the first time I went. This is an event for People with Parkinsons, their care partners, medical professionals and world reknowned researchers to gather and to learn together as equals.

At my Sunday Mornings with Twitchy Woman group, one of our wonderful women gave a donation to cover the registration fees for several women to attend the upcoming World Parkinsons Congress in Barcelona. Others contributed as well. Thanks to their generosity, scholarships will be available for women who have never gone to the WPC before. Three of the women who contributed to the fund, Carol Clupny, Ethel Meyer and Laura Russell have taken charge of this project and have created an application form for those who are interested in applying for a Scholarship to cover registration ($400 value). If you are interested in applying for a scholarship, please send an email to twitchywomanWPC@gmail.com.

I asked each of them to tell you why they are planning to attend the WPC in Barcelona next July. Hopefully they will encourage you to join us there.

Carol Clupny

Are you planning on attending the World Parkinson’s Congress July 4-7 2023, in Barcelona Spain? I am too.
I attended the 2016 Portland, OR WPC and realized what a treasure this type of gathering is. There are
so many different opportunities for learning. There are traditional lectures, round table discussions,
break out sessions, daily reviews and so much more. My husband attended with me, and we were able
to meet people from all over the world. Anyone who is affected by the disease is invited is to attend.
That means researchers, professors and doctors hear the same lectures and can meet up for discussionswith care partners, allied health providers and people like you and me who live with the disease daily. I found myself in a lunch time conversation with a Parkinsons nurse from the United Kingdom and had dinner with group from Australia. I heard lectures from health specialists from Germany and a researcher from Japan. Entertainment provided by Parkinsons peers was an added enjoyment.

A lecture in Kyoto

This conference was so special we decided to plan to attend the next WPC held in Kyoto, Japan in 2019.
Hoping to spend a few days after the conference to see more of Japan we started saving for the event. I made a goal of meeting 4 new people a day and now I have friends all over the world.
Hearing that the next WPC would be in Barcelona thrilled me. The beauty of the city enticed me, but not as much as the speakers and events surrounding the WPC. I couldn’t wait for the registrations to
become available so I could hop on board. And my hubby will be along to serve as a volunteer for the conference.
I hope we will be able to meet in Barcelona next July. We can eat great food, learn so much and enjoy
the beauty of Spain and each other.
Carol Clupny

Exercising in Kyoto

Ethel Meyer

When I went to the World Parkinson Congress in Kyoto three years ago, I was moved seeing the
thousands of people there from all over the world. I met people with Parkinson’s, care partners,
researchers, clinicians, healthcare professionals across all disciplines. It was amazing. I learned things in the seminars of course, but more importantly I made connections with people. We spent time at meals, in the lobby, at breakfast in the hotel, even riding the subway to the Congress discussing their research, programs available in other places, challenges we face, and everyday things like jobs, family, and pets. I left feeling energized. It’s too easy to withdraw when faced with challenges like Parkinson’s but countering the challenge of Parkinson’s with the positive energy of a conference on the scale of the WPC opens the world up again, figuratively and literally. If you ever needed proof that we are not alone this is it. It showed there is hope. When you hear from hundreds of researchers from all over the world all focusing their life’s work for us, when you talk to people and learn what they are doing, and when you just have fun in this exclusive club Parkinson’s gave us things get a little more hopeful.

Ethel

Laura Russell

Opening session in Portland

My first attempt at an in-person conference-style event after my diagnosis was a disaster. I was still newly diagnosed and I think I spent more time crying than participating and learning. It took me over a year after that day to “come out” about my diagnosis. Since then I’ve discovered that the more pro-active and connected I am, the easier it is to face the scary future doom of this disease. I’m going to Barcelona to dive deep into learning as much as possible. I want to attend all of the scientific (and surely over my head!) talks to really soak up the knowledge. I also hope to connect even deeper with my new and remarkable community of inspiring, generous, positive and can-do people. Since coming out, the fear of a dark future has been replaced with new connections and deep friendships and a tribe who gets it. If there was one positive of the pandemic, it was all the new friends we made via Zoom—thanks to efforts like Twitchy Woman. I can’t wait to hug all of my virtual PD friends in person—and in Spain no less! 

See you all there,

Laura

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