SACKETS HARBOR Approximately 20,000 people are diagnosed with Parkinsons disease every year in the United States.
Norman L. Hunneyman organized the North Country Coalition for Parkinsons and Movement Disorders because he knows the fear people face when they are diagnosed.
After all, he was diagnosed with the neurological disorder three years ago.
Parkinsons is one of those neurological disorders that doesnt have a silver bullet, Mr. Hunneyman said.
The coalition is a recognized nonprofit group through the Sackets Harbor Area Cultural Foundation and was started after Mr. Hunneymans inaugural walk to promote Parkinsons awareness in September.
We had such poor weather that day, but we raised $3,000 with the walk, he said.
Because April is National Parkinsons Awareness Month, the coalition is inviting surgical neurophysiologist Michael E. Hopkins from Philadelphia, Pa., to speak about how to live with the disease. There is no admission fee for the seminar, to be held from 10 a.m. to noon April 20 at St. Andrews Church, 12 E. Main St.
This seminar is going to be very beneficial because Dr. Hopkins has done a lot of research in the field, Mr. Hunneyman said.
A caregivers seminar is being planned for the fall.
The group is planning various fundraisers, including another Parkinsons Awareness Walk, throughout the year to help keep the seminars free.
Were grass-roots, Mr. Hunneyman said. We dont have a national or state organization helping us.
He said the nonprofit status makes raising awareness different from how it was in the past.
This is much more formalized, and we have a brochure now, he said. We have programs laid out for the future. We have to look ahead for months.
To donate to the coalition, send a check to the North Country Coalition for Parkinsons, P.O. Box 82, Sackets Harbor, N.Y. 13685. For more information about the coalition or future seminars, call Mr. Hunneyman at 646-3446.
I want to always say to people that you need hope, and dont give up, he said. Dont let the illness frighten you.