Parkinson’s disease topic of speaker series


NEW HARTFORD — Community Wellness Partners and the Presbyterian Homes Foundation invites the community to the next William and Rita Abraham Speaker Series event on Parkinson’s disease on Tuesday, May 21 at 1 p.m. in the Emmaus Room at the Presbyterian Home for Central New York.

The free event will feature Steve Hovey, ambassador for the Davis Phinney Foundation, whose philosophy of “Living Well Today” is shared through an approach of self-efficacy to one’s overall wellness while living with Parkinson’s disease. 

The William and Rita Abraham Speaker Series provides the community with education and insight on Parkinson’s disease with first-hand resources. The Abraham family – consisting of William (Bill) Abraham and his children, Wade and Marie Abraham, Jennifer and Alan Rust, and Andrea Sandock – created the William and Rita Abraham Speakers Series out of love for their wife and mother, Rita.

Through research and developments, The Davis Phinney Foundation has made significant advancements to prove the importance of exercise and maintaining a healthy lifestyle with Parkinson’s disease.

“Much like the research-based Rock Steady Boxing Program we initiated on our campus, we are planning to use this research to develop a new spin class program called “Pedaling for Parkinson’s,” said Bridget Reilly, director of Donor Engagement at Community Wellness Partners.

Presbyterian Homes Foundation is seeking funding for this innovative class, as well as growth and expansion of their Wellness Center, to accommodate the imminent need.

“We are excited to announce that a benefactor, through the Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties, Inc., has agreed to match our project goal of $128,080 dollar-for-dollar up to $64,040,” Reilly said.

Hovey was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2007 at the age of 50. At the time of diagnosis, he did not know anyone with Parkinson’s, so he and his wife Nancy took it upon themselves to learn as much as they could about Parkinson’s symptoms and treatment.

The research soon led them to the Davis Phinney Foundation, where they learned about the importance of exercise and a healthy lifestyle, something Hovey credits as significantly impacting the quality of life he continues to enjoy.

Now semi-retired, he continues to work part-time as a business consultant and is looking forward to sharing the message that “there are things we can do to manage our disease” as an ambassador for the Davis Phinney Foundation.

“When I was diagnosed, the focus of the treatment was on medicine. The doctors never mentioned the benefits of dealing with the disease on a more holistic level – exercise, good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle,” Hovey said.

“Though things are getting better, there are still too many people who need to hear this message.”

Reservations for the free event are appreciated by calling 315-235-7105. The Presbyterian Home for Central New York is located at 4290 Middle Settlement Road.


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