Lawmaker announces diagnosis on World Parkinson's Day, local nonprofit helps people fight disease
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Tuesday was World Parkinson’s Day, and a Northern Virginia lawmaker announced her diagnosis, joining thousands of Virginians fighting against the disease.
The Parkinson's Foundation says someone is diagnosed with Parkinson’s, a neurological disease that affects the body's movements, every six minutes.
"I join the ranks of over eight million people who have Parkinson’s today," said Jennifer Wexton (D-VA-10th) said in a Twitter Video announcing her diagnosis pm Tuesday. "It has primarily affected my speech and how my mouth moves. You may notice I speak more quickly now. It has also affected how I walk and keep my balance."
She said she will continue to serve and she made the announcement in order to support other Americans with the disease.
"Like them I too am a fighter," said Wexton.
The Parkinson’s Activity and Resource Center (PARC) is a local nonprofit that works to create a community for people with Parkinson’s in Charlottesville.
On Tuesday, its boxing classes joined gyms around the world in the "sit-to-stand challenge," with a goal of completing one million sit-to-stands.
PARC president Sarah Lincoln said getting out of a chair is an important life skill, and it's just one of many exercises they do.
"Exercise has been shown to improve their quality of life. We work on their coordination, balance, strength and cognition," Lincoln said.
Some students said they're in better shape now than they were before their diagnosis.
"Hey I was able to get into the bathtub for the first time in three months, hey I was able to go for a hike with my wife, things like that. It really warms our heart," Lincoln said.
PARC also offers support groups and activities like game nights and outings into the community.
It's hosting an open house on May 7 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.