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The Importance of Care before Cure: NWPF’s Past, Present & Future

Wednesday February 26, 2014

That mantra has been the driving force behind the Northwest Parkinson's Foundation since its inception more than a decade and half ago. And, Care before Cure will guide our decisions today and into the future.  

Care before Cure (BBC-- Before Bill & Craig)

In the 1990s, the Northwest Parkinson's community was shallow. Very few people sought to bring attention and care to the thousands of folks suffering from PD throughout Washington, Idaho, Montana, Alaska and Oregon.  Bill Bell and Craig Howard, caring for family members with PD, noticed this need and decided to do something about it.  Thus, the Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation was born.

Care before Cure (LBC-- Life with Bill & Craig)

In the beginning of time-- or at least the beginning of time at NWPF-- Care meant something very different than it does today. In those old days, "Care" centered on clinical care performed by neurologists with specialized training in movement disorders. Bill and Craig, along with some friends in high places, developed a business plan to establish a center for comprehensive clinical care of Parkinson's disease. The Booth Gardner Parkinson's Care Center in Kirkland, WA was born and life was good (well, at least better).

Care before Cure 

Mission accomplished, the Northwest Parkinson's Foundation sought new ways to improve quality of life for people affected by Parkinson's. We'll call this non-clinical Care. The organization set out to meet and talk with everyone in our five state region that needed support. We'll call this our hand-to-hand combat period. Of course, amazing results occurred by spending one-on-one time with those who needed a lift The goodwill earned by Bill & Craig at this period in the organization's history helped greatly in fundraising through various foundations and individuals. Life was good (okay, at least getting better).  

Care before Cure (ABC-- After Bill & Craig)

So, don't get nervous-- we'll never really let Bill or Craig get away from us totally. At the end of last year, Craig Howard rolled-off his Board position and Bill Bell will follow next month. Their leadership will be missed, but we know where we came from and we know where we're going!

Today, Care means something a little different than the founding principles spelled out. We believe that NWPF has helped improved the lives of many people throughout the five state area. We also believe there are thousands more families we could reach and assist. The route to reach those families may look a little different as we utilize the amazing rise of communication technologies.  

Our focus on Care in 2014 will look something like this:

Programs: This year, led by Melissa Tribelhorn, NWPF will roll-out a host of new programs designed to improve quality of life. Some of these programs will take place in the Seattle area, such as Dance for PD, a new yoga class, a new DBS Education and Support Forum, and the newly minted Parkinson’s Café. But some programs will use new technologies to reach people throughout the five state region in a cost effective and efficient way. New programs include:

  • Support Group Leader trainings;
  • an Education Conference in Boise;
  • Dance for PD classes in Issaquah and Boise;
  • PD Link, a peer-to-peer support network program that takes place over the phone or email;
  • Re-vamped TeleHealth webinars that you can watch from your home or in small groups;
  • Partnership with Parkinson's Resources of Oregon;

Of course, the HOPE Conference, in conjunction with APDA, will still be a hallmark program and take place in Bellevue once again this fall.

Social Worker Outreach: We have hired our first licensed social worker to continue those one-on-one meetings with patients and caregivers. Maria Cole will work from our office in Seattle three days a week and at the Booth Gardner Center two days.  Even if you don’t live in the Seattle area, you can still schedule a phone appointment with Maria.

Web: Welcome to our new web site and all that it offers you in terms of education and support. Rebecca Mauldin is our Communications & Marketing Manager, whose primary responsibility is making nwpf.org the best source of information and support for Parkinson's in the world. And, of course, the beloved Dr. Monique Giroux continues her herculean efforts as the content provider for the Wellness Center. Really- this site, if it's not already, will be the best site in the world for PD Care. TeleHealth webinars; expert bloggers; live webcasts of HOPE Conference; video messages from Dr. Giroux; library of medical articles and so much more.  

Fundraising: So, I know sometimes people get scared by this concept. But, we can't do all the great things we have planned without the funding. Your support is vitally important. Anne Alkema, who ran our highly successful Celebrate 15! Auction last fall, is our new Development Director. We will continue the traditional fundraising techniques of grant writing and seeking corporate support-- but the biggest impact will come from you. I encourage you to consider adding NWPF in your estate plan and joining our Legacy Circle. Each year this group, which includes people who have committed to include NWPF in their estate plans, gathers for an informational breakfast and cheer the work of the organization.  

Community: Join us at Team Parkinson's Walk in the Park on Saturday, July 26 at Magnuson Park.  It's a chance to meet others in similar situations, raiser important funds, laugh, have fun and be happy.  

Future Care before Cure

The plan is to have satellite offices of NWPF throughout the northwest. People providing that one-on-one connection that was so important in the early days. I'd like to have a staff member in each of your larger communities to serve you directly.

Steve Wright, MPASteve Wright, MPA
Executive Director, NWPF

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