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Talk with Jo

January, 2017

If you are like me the recent holiday season was a bag of mixed blessings. I ate too much, spent too much and didn’t sleep nearly enough, but it was a wonderful time spent with family and friends. I am not big on New Year’s resolutions, because like most Americans, I have broken or forgotten them by January 15th at the latest. I do however enjoy looking back at the past year and reflecting on the blessings that I have enjoyed.      


This past year was indeed filled with blessings and accomplishments for me personally and the Parkinson’s group as a whole. As many of you know, in May my son graduated from graduate school and law school at the University of Oregon and shortly there after was offered an Army JAG commission, his dream come true! In September, my daughter blessed me with my very first grandchild, Lincoln Barrett, who very quickly became “the apple of my eye.”


Southwest Parkinson also had a very successful year. In February we had one of the most successful Wine and Chocolate Fantasia’s ever. April was an extremely busy time as we enjoyed our largest and arguably the best symposium in many years. The attendance was around 250 and we had attendees from all over Texas as well as New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas and Arizona.

Just after the symposium a group of us departed for the Unity Walk in New York. What a blessing to enjoy the sights and sounds of New York with some of my Parkinson’s family! While in New York we were able to see many of the sights including; the Empire State building, Rockefeller Plaza, the Today show, the Statue of Liberty, 9/11 memorial and museum, the MET and others. We also saw the play Wicked at the beautiful Gershwin theater. The highlight of the trip of course, was walking with over 11,000 others through Central Park for the annual Unity Walk, where together we raised over 1.7 million dollars for Parkinson’s research. (We are currently making plans to attend this years walk.)


The fall was also an exciting time for Southwest Parkinson’s Society. Many board members and volunteers helped with the Grape Day run (and all the festivities surrounding it) at Llano Winery. Thanks to walk chair and board member, Andrea Bell, we also had our most successful walk to date at the “ Fall Walk Through the Ranch”, held for the third year at the National Ranching Heritage Center.


These successes would not be possible without the hard work of the Southwest Parkinson board (Emmitt and Shirley Bobbitt, Margaret Bryant, Andrea Bell, Tutti Burkett, Tracey Colburn, Jan d’Orsay, Dodie Grinnell, Dr. Katie Hendley, Medical Director, Tom Hesse, Memori Jackson, Debbie McMahan, Susan Roberts, Ashley Saed, and Joanne Teague) and my faithful co-worker Lyn Williams. I can honestly say this is the most hard working and greatest group of people I have ever had the privilege of working with.


Unfortunately, 2016 was not without some trials and difficulties. Sadly we said good-bye to several of our PD family as they shed their Parkinson’s and passed from this life into a new life free from PD and all of its pain and suffering.


Overall 2016 was a very good year and I am looking forward to an even more exciting and rewarding 2017. Blessings to each of you for a happy, safe and successful New Year!

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