The Parkinson Support Group of Tarrant County, Texas was organized in April 1983 at Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth, TX with 49 charter members. (April is the birth month of Dr. James Parkinson, founder of Parkinson’s Disease). Even though Broadway Baptist Church does not sponsor the organization, it graciously permits us use of their facilities for meetings and exercise, and provides coffee and tea and other amenities.
In the early years the Parkinson Support Group had a great vision for meeting the needs of the People with Parkinson’s (PWP) in this community. Original goals included providing information, entertainment, inspiration and fellowship. Noted speakers included several neurologists, physical therapist, a minister, a speech pathologist, and Pharmaceutical representatives. Exercise classes were held twice a week under the direction of a certified physical therapist. Spouses or caregivers of PD patients were invited and encouraged to participate.Two six-week pilot programs in Communication Skills under the direction of a speech pathologist and a grant was sought to continue the program “on a year round basis”. A monthly newsletter kept members and representatives of the health care community aware of our achievements and future goals.
The Parkinson’s Support Group has continued to meet for educational meetings for 35 years. In 2014 we added a support Group meeting in the HEB area which meets the second Tuesday of the month at the Bedford Public Library 2424 Forest Ridge Drive. The Caregivers Support Group offers information, encouragement and support to the Caregivers of PWP. The newsletter has continued and is now a bi-monthly publication providing information about current medical treatments, local symposiums in the Metroplex and local Support Group information.
We also have a library of Parkinson Information. Books, DVDs and current literature are available as well as information on specific questions such as driving, diet, exercise, freezing, to name a few.
Today the Parkinson’s Support Group of Tarrant County continues to provide education, information, encouragement and practical help to the Parkinson’s community in Tarrant County and surrounding area and has remained true to the original stated goals. The Support Group is a non profit (501c3) all volunteer organization with a board of directors elected by the membership.
We depend on dues, memorials, other donations as well as volunteer labor. Several medical professionals volunteer with us and are greatly appreciated. Our group makes annual financial contributions to national foundations devoted to Parkinson’s Disease research.