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Parks and Recreation recognizing Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month
SHAKOPEE, MINN. – Shakopee Parks and Recreation is recognizing Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month in April with unique programming.
According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, approximately 13,400 people live with Parkinson’s disease in Minnesota. By 2020, it’s estimated that more than 900,000 Americans will be living with Parkinson’s disease.
“There certainly are residents here in Shakopee that live with effects of Parkinson’s disease every day,” says Jay Tobin, Shakopee Parks and Recreation director.
Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative disorder with no known cause. Signs of the disease tend to develop slowly over time. Patients can suffer from symptoms such as tremors, limb rigidity or balance problems. While Parkinson’s is not fatal, some complications from the disease can be.
The Community Center is hosting a six-week course, Exercise for People Living with Parkinson’s Disease, beginning this month.
“This course is drawing much more attention to the disease,” says All Saints Assisted Living Nurse Manager Jenna Boys. “Parkinson’s is one that is not quite as well recognized as diseases like Alzheimer’s. This class will give those individuals a sense of acceptance, as well as keeping them active.”
Boys has a personal connection to the disease; her father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s when he was 55 years old. “It was a family effort to care for him,” she explains. “We each took a day of the week to be with him. He had a hobby farm, so we took our day to run errands for the farm, go to lunch at familiar places in town- those types of things.”
While Boys’ father died 10 years after his diagnosis, he lived a full life. “I believe keeping him active and doing things as he typically did really helped him in the long run,” Boys says.
Exercise for People Living with Parkinson’s Disease aims to do just that.
“Research has shown that getting the heart rate up and lifting weights can help delay the progression of certain symptoms,” says Marie Goergen, who will be teaching the course. Goergen is certified by the Gary Sobol’s Parkinson Foundation.
“The exercises included in this class are both Parkinson’s specific and exercises for daily living,” Goergen explains. “Parkinson’s specific exercises challenge the brain. We also do rotational work, strength training and cardio.”
Residents living with Parkinson’s disease or other movement disorders can register for the class by visiting www.ShakopeeMN.gov/registration using code FIT 006 or by calling 952-233-9500. Classes will be held Tuesdays at 1:15 – 2:15 p.m. from April 9 through May 14. The six-week course is $50 for participants. Support persons can attend the classes for free. The Parks and Recreation Department hopes to offer more sessions of the exercise course throughout the year.
NHL Alumni Exhibition game to benefit Parkinson’s Foundation Minnesota
In addition to the exercise classes, elite former professional hockey players will gather at the Shakopee Ice Arena on April 13 for the NHL Alumni Parkinson’s Foundation Minnesota exhibition game, which will raise funds for Parkinson’s research. “This is a major event, and we’re thrilled that to support the Parkinson’s Foundation,” Tobin says.
In addition to the Alumni game, residents can enjoy food trucks, games, silent auctions and opportunities to meet former NHL players. Tickets cost $20 and are available at https://www.parkinson.org/minnesota/NHL.
Although the Shakopee Parks and Recreation Department is doing its part to support the Parkinson’s community, more still can be done. “The awareness is great during this month, but I feel the recognition and education doesn’t need to stop at the end of the month,” Boys says.
Correction: An earlier version of this story listed Jenna Boys as Recreation Coordinator Carla Kress
Contact: Kelsey Theis, Fitness Coordinator 952-233-9515