Parkinson's event eight years strong
By Laura Courson, Staff Writer
Parkinson's disease is a progressive disorder of the central nervous system. Parkinson's is characterized by a decrease in spontaneous movements, difficulty walking, instability, rigidity and tremor.
The disease is caused by the degeneration of the pigmented neurons in the Substantia Nigra of the brain. This results in decreased dopamine availability.
Over 1 million people in the United States have Parkinson's disease, but they are not the only people affected.
Their friends and family are also affected by the disease.
That is were support groups like the Parkinson's Support Group of Providence Hospital in Mobile come in.
The Providence support group is designed to help both patients and their families through support and education.
At the first monthly meeting of the Providence support group in 1989, 75 people attended.
Tate says the group is good way for patients to learn how to deal with the disease.
Now there are 200 members taking advantage of the benefits a support group provides.
Two such members are Virginia McFarlane and her husband, Howard. Howard has Parkinson's disease.
Virginia is glad to have the support offered through the group.
The group meets on the fourth Monday of every month at 3:00 p.m. in conference room 1 of the Providence Hospital.
In 1994 the support group began having a yearly picnic for patients and their families.
Since 1997 this picnic has been held at Ulay and Edith Wise's home in Atmore.
Ulay Wise volunteered the use of his home when it became too difficult for his wife, Edith, who has Parkinson's, to attend the picnics elsewhere.
Each year a bus transports some of the support group from Mobile to the Wise home on Old Bratt Road. Those who don't take the bus arrive on their own.
This year's picnic was held on Monday, June 24.
While attendance was smaller due to some rainy weather in the area, those who did attend were happy to be there.
Food was provided and served by the youth of First Baptist Church.
Ulay Wise was happy to welcome his guest though those who were unable to attend were missed.
Wise's niece, Brenda Coker, is proud of her uncle.
Edith Wise was unfortunately unable to come outside for the picnic due to the progress of the disease.
The picnic was a success despite the rain that interrupted the dessert.
Ulay Wise said the rain didn't ruin the picnic in anyway.