Category: motivation


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 –
tell them…
“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’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!


In the May 8, 2017 online issue of Parkinson’s News Today, a “Facts You May Not Know About Parkinson’s” article includes the following information – interesting reading!

The types of exercise you choose will depend, to some degree, on the severity of your Parkinson’s disease and your overall health. According to the Parkinson’s Disease Clinic and Research Center at the University of California, the exercises should be varied and incorporate changing directions through unplanned movement, cardiovascular exercise, balance, strength training and rhythmical exercises.

Unplanned and Random Movement
The exercises listed require the person to change tempo and direction regularly. These will challenge a person mentally as well as physically as they require concentration to perform.
• Walking, hiking or jogging
• Racket sports such as badminton, table tennis, squash
• Yoga or Tai Chi
• Outdoor cycling
• Dancing
• Aerobic classes
• Marching with swinging arms
• Swimming in different strokes

Planned and Repeated Movement
These exercises are generally repeated movements that require balance. They can be performed while doing something that challenges a person mentally, such as watching a quiz show or the news, throwing and catching balls, singing, or problem-solving.
• Cycling on a static bike
• Weightlifting using light weights
• Swimming laps in the same stroke
• Slow walking on a treadmill


There are some people you just DON’T want to under-estimate!

The boxing area provided for our use at the Salem Fitness Center is a great place to work on the benefits of shifting one’s center of gravity and improving footwork, balance, cognitive focus, and general body conditioning…not to mention being able to punch out frustrations on the heavy bags!

To “meet” the instructors, read about the program, find our location, and view a calendar:

click here


That’s right…92 adults and children attended our April 2nd mini-fundraiser at the Sunnyside Bowladrome in Danvers! They came in support of their family members and friends who live with the multifaceted challenges of a Parkinson’s diagnosis. We were delighted to have several participants from our exercise, movement, yoga and music classes come to support the programs they attend (including instructor Kim Crowley from our Beverly and Salem classes and community supporter Suz Malach from the Danvers Community YMCA!), especially because April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month around the world. Who better to be awareness ambassadors than those proving the importance of staying as active as possible while fighting back against a relentlessly tough medical condition!

Good-natured teasing, lots of gutter balls (this writer can attest to too many of her own!), and the friendly conversations shared amid the cheers and jeers and moans and groans heard from the lanes, were topped off by enjoying ice cream sundaes generously provided by Treadwell’s Ice Cream community programming in Peabody.

The supportive spirit from everyone who attended and contributed will help us sustain the quality programs we do our best to offer throughout the North Shore. (Click here to view a schedule of class locations and times.) Thank you to co-founders Linda and Keith Hall for continuing your mission…your Parkinson’s awareness commitment goes far beyond just one month out of the year!



For ten years, the Marblehead Parkinson’s support group was honored to have as one of its most beloved members a man we referred to as “Captain” Cobbett (a/k/a Bill Cobbett, a long-standing Swampscott, MA resident and former biology teacher at Marblehead High School). He was fond of writing poetry and dedicated this one titled “The Journey” to his fellow support group friends. Bill passed unexpectedly in May of 2012 – a huge loss to all who knew him. In his memory, during this April’s Parkinson’s Awareness Month, we offer his warm message to you…

The Journey
~ Bill Cobbett ~

Ulysses’ journey – the Odyssey – took ten long years to do.
Our trip may take much longer, but with hope we’ll see it through.
Ulysses found that his odyssey had problems along the way,
and all of us on our journeys work through trials that come each day.

For some of us, the odyssey is slowly gaining speed.
But most of you will miss this trip – one you neither want nor need.
Ulysses solved his problems in ways only he could do.
We too will conquer challenges with help from a supportive crew.

This trip is different from those we took in days long ago and passed.
There seems no way of knowing just how long the journey will last.
As yet, we’re not quite sure just what we’ll do and learn,
or when PD finally has a cure, to where we will return.

Unlike a tourist on a trip who sees what a tourist sees,
We’re like sailors on changing seas, at the whim of an ocean breeze.
This journey wasn’t planned by us as to what we’ll learn and do.
The life you’ll have – and how to live it – is entirely up to you.

Parkinson’s will, one day, be cured with work and time…
And hope can make life brighter, as it strides the horizon line.
Together we’ll find our bearings
to chart a course that’s true…
and that success, to a large extent, will come from support –
like that I’ve found in you!

 William Cobbett
Swampscott, MA resident
Husband, father, grandfather, gardener, flower arranger, poet, wood carver,
friend and source of encouragement to all who knew him.
Marblehead Parkinson’s support group member
Passed from our lives in May, 2012


People who attend instructor Dianna Daly’s Balance in Motion classes on Monday’s, Tuesday’s,Thursday’s or Friday’s regularly confirm the benefits of creating fluid and focused all-over body movements to improve balance and strength. Dianna’s professional dance background, her Parkinson’s training, and her welcoming manner make her a creative, fun, and popular class instructor.  (click here for class times and locations)

But wait! There’s more to read about the benefits of dance movement!

In the following video from a post in, dance teacher Pam Kuntz talks about her dance class that’s aimed at people with neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis.

Kuntz talks with two of her clients about the benefits of the dance class and how being able to move freely makes them feel. As well as the physical and health benefits, the attendees also talk about how great it is to get out and socialize and meet other people who have Parkinson’s disease or other neurological diseases. Once into the site, click on the second picture down and enjoy both the content and the humor they share with one another!





We’re pleased to welcome yoga instructor Heather Tharpe to our Parkinson’s Fitness team!

“I began my journey as a yoga skeptic in the early 90’s. It took a few years to find the ‘right’ yoga for me. Once I did, it became my goal to find a way to draw ‘everyday people’ like myself to yoga.”

Participants in Heather’s class will learn basic yoga knowledge, postures, form and breath work, while building physical strength, flexibility and balance necessary to improve movement and posture, loosen tight and often painful muscles, and build confidence.

Comfort and safety are ensured by using a chair, wall, and other yoga props for individual variations and modifications as needed.

This newest weekly program is offered free of charge to participants. Classes are held on Wednesdays from 1:00 – 2:00 PM at the Hamilton Council on Aging, 299 Bay Road, South Hamilton.

Click here for a schedule of all Parkinson’s Fitness programs

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