I'd like to tell you about my new pal, Margaret Poole. Her friends call her Peggy, and since I'm now her buddy, she has graciously consented to adding me to that distinguished list.
I met her several weeks ago at a fundraising gala we were both attending. Fate seated us beside one another, and we chatted and giggled all night like old chums.
Over the course of the event, I discovered Peggy is a mom, a wife, a nurse, a woman of faith, a Liberty native, a fan of rigorous walking and light-hearted dancing and an all-around great gal. She is someone I'm grateful and glad to have met.
She is also someone living with Parkinson's disease.
Truth be told, Peggy is not the only person I care about struggling with the neurological disorder. My mother-in-law has bravely battled the malady for nearly two decades with my father-in-law standing firmly at her side through each challenge and hurdle.
You may not be as familiar with this curse as am I, so allow me to give you some background on Parkinson's disease.
According to the Parkinson's Disease Foundation, which is based in New York City, Parkinson's Disease is "a chronic and progressive movement disorder, meaning that symptoms continue and worsen over time. Nearly one million people in the U.S. are living with Parkinson's disease. The cause is unknown, and although there is presently no cure, there are treatment options such as medication and surgery to manage its symptoms."
U.S. News Health estimates that more than 50,000 new cases of Parkinson's Disease are diagnosed every year.
Some of its most famous - I refuse to say "victims" - challengers include: retired heavyweight boxing champion Mohammed Ali, "Peanuts" comic strip creator Charles Schultz, actress Estelle Getty, country music legend Johnny Cash and former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno.
The celebrity who has arguably done the most to further research for and awareness about Parkinson's is actor Michael J. Fox, whom I find to be inspirational beyond description.
But for me, Parkinson's is personal. I detest everything about it.
So, in light of the fact that these two ladies for whom I care so deeply share this common enemy; what do you say you and I do a little something to help them kick its butt to the curb?
In honor of my pal Peggy and my mother-in-law Evon, I urge you to do something during Parkinson's Disease Awareness month (April, natch) that not only feels good, but tastes good, too!
Please, if you are willing and able, come to the "Pastas for Parkinson's" fundraiser on April 28th between 1 and 4 p.m. at Station Square Restaurant in Liberty. Please call Peggy at 330-759-3459 for more information on the event. BTW, to learn about the Parkinson's Support Group in Trumbull County, contact Peg's buddy Beverly McPherson at 330-856-4286 or 330-307-6144
But back to the chow.
Chef Ottavio Musumeci and his crew will be on hand on the 28th offering delectable, authentic Italian pastas. There will be a Chinese auction, and you can even purchase a bottle of vino to wash down the spaghetti, if you wish?
The event is in support of this year's Parkinson's Unity Walk, an annual stride through Central Park in NYC which raises money for research projects being conducted by the following organizations:
American Parkinson's Disease Association, National Parkinson Foundation, Parkinson's Action Network, Parkinson's Disease Foundation, the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, the Parkinson Alliance / Tuchman Foundation and the Parkinson's Institute and Clinical Center. You can learn more about the walk at www.unitywalk.org.
Peggy is part of a team called "Moon-n-Stars" (a mix of Trumbull and Mahoning County residents) which always supports the walk, though she herself cannot attend this year. Instead, she's throwing herself into the pasta party.
It's a great event at a great restaurant for a great cause ... and ultimately, it will help two great ladies.
See you then!
Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist and hater of Parkinson's disease. Help her help her friend and mother-in-law by swinging by the event on the 28th and saying HELLO! You can reach Kimerer at firstname.lastname@example.org