Wow! Did the high winds and rain from the October 29th storm shake our area almost to its core! Checking several times during the night to see if the cracking sounds were our towering pine trees dropping their heavy branches, I came across a poem I’d left on the kitchen table a few days before. This morning, with the sun once again shining but the winds still tearing at the trees, it seems a good time to share the poem’s message as a reminder about our strengths when life creates its storms.
The Oak Tree
by Johnny Ray Ryder, Jr.
A mighty wind blew night and day.
It stole the oak tree’s leaves away,
then snapped its boughs and pulled its bark,
until the oak was tired and stark.
But still the oak tree held its ground,
while other trees fell all around.
The weary wind gave up and spoke,
“How can you still be standing, Oak?”
The oak tree said, “I know that you
can break each branch of mine in two,
carry every leaf away,
shake my limbs, and make me sway.”
“But I have roots stretched in the earth,
growing stronger since my birth.
You’ll never touch them, for you see,
they are the deepest part of me.”
“Until today, I wasn’t sure
of just how much I could endure.
But now I’ve found – with thanks to you –
I’m stronger than I ever knew.”
We had THE most incredible evening together on October 19th at our third annual fundraiser to help our programs continue!
One hundred-plus people gathered with us at the Danversport Yacht Club to share three hours of happy conversations, dancing and singing to the fantastic music provided by The MERJ – you missed a great mini “flash-mob” sequence secretly choreographed to “Signed, Sealed, and Delivered” by two of our very popular instructors, Dianna Daly and Kim Crowley, and some of their class members. The food was delicious and the silent auction and raffle items drew a lot of attention…thank you, donors and buyers!
And if you EVER hear that The MERJ band is playing near you, GO enjoy them! They are amazing and have music for every taste!
We’ll have photos to post soon, courtesy of our new friend, Lucas, a student from Endicott College in Beverly whose minor is in photography and who stepped forward to help us make memories when the photographer we’d recruited couldn’t come at the last minute! We’re looking forward to seeing his pictures and hopefully building a new relationship with him and creating future photos and videos of our classes!
As always, co-founder Linda Hall was on board tirelessly coordinating every detail. Her personal team of friends, led by Mary Orne, monitored the check-in and check-out tables and the databases of names…a huge undertaking they’ve handled for all three annual fundraisers! Keith Soper, artistic friend of the Hall’s, created the fundraiser invitation, and Jen Gonyea from Clarity Collaborative helped with all the necessary electronic communications to draw attention to the importance for holding the fundraiser. Co-founder, Keith Hall, was once again welcoming in his blend of humor and sincerity. Two Boston University/Sargent College rehabilitation specialists – Tami Deangelis and Teresa Baker – joined in with remarks about the work they perform and Keith’s participation in so many of their programs. Volunteer friend Marilyn Freeman read a poem she wrote and dedicated to Linda and Keith, and for anyone challenged with Parkinson’s or other life challenges:
When a New Day Dawns
For Keith and Linda Hall, who are the seekers, the listeners, and the singers of hope
Day comes again,
lighting a road still unmapped.
My mind joins dawn’s journey and I start to feel trapped.
Where can I go to escape words I’ve heard said
that shout their uncertainties so loud in my head?
The hands on the clock mimic my heart’s pulsing beat,
and the doctor’s diagnosis in my head still repeats.
How can I move toward a future when the deck is so stacked
with my questions unanswered – and often unasked?
I suppose I could just lie here,
willing off the obvious becoming now clear
that I’ll need to live a “different” life.
But who maps the way? Doctor, husband, family, wife?
I like my existence now, with its ups and its downs;
and I surely don’t want to feel somehow bound
to wondering if “Hope is the thing with feathers”,
will it sing songs for me?
Or will the changes scare away Hope’s bird,
leaving me doubts I wish I could free?
No one understands these thoughts – except for those who do.
It’s a see-saw of retreating – but then searching for the clues
for facing unknown tomorrows and seeking out the voices
that still sing through the storms and offer new choices.
Be a listener or be the bird who sings
Hope’s promise to self – and for others who cling
to their strengths oft’ forgotten – or yet still unknown –
“I’m like you, friend, and you’re not alone.”
October 19th was an evening that will be long remembered…and appreciated…by everyone on the Parkinson’s Fitness team. Thank you to all!
Parkinson’s Fitness and MedRhythms Neurologic Music Therapy collaborated to provide THE best educational seminar at the Beverly COA on September 7th!
MedRhythms Neurologic Music Therapy CEO/co-founder, Brian Harris, presented such interactive, engaging, eye-opening information, that all 78 of us who attended couldn’t believe how quickly an hour and a half passed by! Everyone remained completely focused on what Brian explained and demonstrated.
Video clips showing the effect of using music rhythms to reach areas of the brain that control speech, body movements, and cognition were fascinating, especially because actual patients were shown interacting with the MedRhythms therapists. Brian and a seminar audience volunteer held everyone’s attention as she participated in a demonstration of how rhythmic beat affects the way our brain “tells” the body how to move.
Our audience included people affected by Parkinson’s, stroke, traumatic brain injury, Multiple Sclerosis, Cerebral Palsy and other forms of neurologic conditions, as well as memory impairment. Brian’s program was a wonderful introduction into a complementary form of neurologic therapy. To witness in the videos the effect of specifically chosen rhythms on movement and gait, and the happy look of satisfaction on the face of a patient who re-gained his ability to once again communicate, was heartening to watch.
There’s a future filled with promise waiting to be explored by many people here in our local communities, and we will do whatever we possibly can to create a way to build programming that includes MedRhythms neurologic music therapies. We invite you to join our efforts!
To read more about MedRhythms, click here.
We’ve scheduled an Open House in September at the Lynn Fitness Center for people with Parkinson’s who want to learn how boxing is a great way to build stamina, strength, mental focus, balance, and agility.
Our plan is to expand our boxing program from one day to two. One class will continue as usual on Thursday afternoons in Salem, and the second will take place on weekends at the Lynn center to accommodate people unable to attend during the week. Come to the Open House and check out where, what and how this is going to happen and meet the instructors and a few of our Salem class members! Here are the particulars…
Where: Lynn Fitness Center, 161 Eastern Avenue, Lynn
When: Sunday, September 10, 2017
Time: 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM
For more information or to let us know you’re planning to attend, please click here or phone us at 781-572-5918.
A strong piece of advice was shared many times by a Parkinson’s support member during group meetings. One of his favorite trips was to Walt Disney World in Florida with his family…and he rode many of the rides, too!
“DON’T GIVE UP GOING PLACES THINKING THAT YOU CAN’T TRAVEL BECAUSE YOU HAVE PARKINSON’S!
LEAVE STUBBORN PRIDE BEHIND, LIVE YOUR LIFE AS BEST YOU CAN, AND HAVE SOME FUN WHILE DOING IT!”
The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation recently posted great tips on their web site about transportation and travel. Read more by clicking on the link below, and then start making YOUR plans! The rest of your life is waiting!
We’re excited about hosting a free educational seminar
in collaboration with MedRhythms Neurologic Therapy, Boston on September 7th!
When did Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT) first appear?
“NMT was researched and developed by the Academy of Neurologic Music Therapy in Fort Collins, Colorado.
The first certification program of NMT was held in 1999. Since then, Neurologic Music Therapy has seen rapid growth in healthcare.”
Millions of people lose language, cognitive, and movement abilities each year from neurologic disease or injury – i.e. Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, Huntington’s, Cerebral Palsy, stroke, traumatic brain injury, autism, etc. MedRhythms collaborates with individuals, medical clinicians, and assisted-living and nursing care staff on an inpatient and/or outpatient basis to restore quality to lives.
Most of us in our area are aware of the first-class neurological services available at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Charlestown, outside of Boston. “Spaulding Rehabilitation Network was one of the first rehab providers in the country to create a full-time Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT) inpatient program and has now announced a partnership with Boston and Portland, Maine based MedRhythms to offer NMT services on an outpatient basis, making it the most comprehensive program of its kind in the nation.”
It is our hope that MedRhythms will become a recognized collaborative partner with residents, organizations, hospitals, and rehabilitation therapists in our North Shore Area.
Remember…while music therapy lifts spirits through singing, drumming, bell ringing, etc. …it’s also about connecting the brain and body
Click here to see seminar details and how to register for the September 7th event in Beverly. Register by September 1st!
Searching for meaningful words in celebration of the upcoming Fourth of July, we offer these thoughts and ask, regardless of your political views about the incredible amount of unrest throughout the world, that you take some quiet time away from everything and honestly consider whether you would really want to live anywhere else and still expect to have the freedoms with which we are blessed.
“Let’s take a break from complaining about America to celebrate America.” – anonymous
Ten Marks of A GOOD CITIZEN – (author unknown)
- Well-informed on local and world affairs.
- Courteous, unselfish, friendly – gets along well with others – is a good neighbor.
- Sincere, dependable, and takes an active part in a religious community of personal choice.
- Appreciates what others have done and accepts responsibility for the future betterment of the community.
- Is fair and just in relations with others.
- Obeys the laws of the community and nation.
- Votes regularly and intelligently at election time – and respects the choices of others.
- Is interested in the freedom and welfare of all of the world’s peoples and takes part in securing them.
- Is productive and renders a worthwhile service to his fellow man.
- Sets a good example to the youth of the community.
Since childhood, many of us have learned to remember things using a phrase or word in sequences or rhythms…an example being learning the letters of the alphabet by singing the “alphabet song”. This is called “mnemonics“. Growing older tests our memory power in so many ways!
Try these simple mnemonic examples to discover how the brain pieces things together. Fill in the blanks to complete the phrases.
- One, two, _____ my shoe. Three, _____, open the ______. Five, ______, pick up ______. Seven, eight _____ them ______. Nine, ten a _____ _____ _____.
- Red ____ in the ________, sailor take _______. Red sky ___ ____, sailor’s _____.
- Sing: Are you _______, are you ________, Brother _____? Brother ____? Morning ______ are ______. Morning ______ are ringing. Ding, ____, ______.
Did the exercises sound familiar? What words, rhythms, or music have helped you to remember things? Don’t have any? Try making some up of your own!
Incontinence often becomes a side effect connection to Parkinson’s that creates questions that go unasked and therefore unanswered during medical visits. Why is that? Embarrassment about discussing “bodily functions”? No seemingly obvious link between the brain and the gastro-urinary system? The link below has excellent information and suggestions.
“The University of California, San Francisco Medical Center has an international reputation for its excellence as a clinical and research facility, and the UCSF Department of Neurology is widely recognized as one of the leading neuroscience centers in the United States.
The Parkinson’s Disease Clinic and Research Center at the University of California, San Francisco Department of Neurology has been a National Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence since 1992.”
Summer has officially begun and with it, for some, opportunities to travel and visit fun places!
Check out these important tips to help make whatever experiences you’re planning happy and safe!