4th annual Parkinson's Awareness Walk and 9-hole golf outing

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Participants line up for last year's Parkinson's Awareness of Clayton County walk and 9-hole best-shot golf outing. The annual event will be held this year on Saturday, Oct. 5, at the Guttenberg Golf and Country Club. (Photo submitted)

By Caroline Rosacker

PACC (Parkinson's Awareness of Clayton County) is making plans to hold its fourth annual Parkinson's Awareness Walk and 9-hole best-shot golf outing. The event is set to take place on Saturday, Oct. 5, at the Guttenberg Golf & Country Club located at 28126 Highway 52. 

Parkinson's Awareness Walk

Registration for the walk begins at 9 a.m., with walkers lining up at 10 a.m. There is no cost associated with the walk but a free will donation is appreciated. 

9-hole best-shot golf outing

The 9-hole best-shot outing will begin with a shotgun start at 11 a.m. The cost for the golf outing is $25 per person and covers 9-holes and a cart. Reservations were due by Sept. 20.

In addition to the walk and golf outing, the PACC will hold a silent auction and provide a lunch stand for participants. 

Billee Jo Hefel, spokeswoman for the group, commented, "Twenty-five percent of our proceeds from this event will be donated to state and national Parkinson's organizations to help fund research and find a cure for the disease. The remaining proceeds stay local."

Parkinson's disease

Parkinson's disease is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement. Symptoms often start gradually, starting with a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand. Tremors are common, but the disorder will also cause stiffness or slowing of movement.

In the early stages of the illness, a person may experience a lack of facial expression, stationary arms when walking and an increase in slurred or soft speech. An increase in depression can also present itself in those suffering from the disease. Parkinson's disease symptoms worsen as the condition progresses over time.

Although the disease can't be cured, medication can be beneficial. A physician may suggest surgery to regulate certain regions of the brain to alleviate symptoms.

Parkinson’s disease affects approximately 1.5 million Americans. It strikes men slightly more often than women and is a condition usually affecting people in the over 60-age group. However, about 15% of patients with the disorder are diagnosed before the age of 40.

Parkinson's Awareness of Clayton County (PACC) is an approved 501(C) (3) non-profit organization formed in 2016 by several local families.

Hefel explained, "The group members are those who have been directly impacted by family members who currently have been diagnosed with or have passed away from the disease."

The group's mission statement is: To raise awareness for those affected by Parkinson's and their families.

The group offers resources, education and support to ensure that those effected by the disease are not alone.

Hefel said, "Our organization donates to local Parkinson's patients to assist with their medical needs and other Parkinson's associations that benefit those affected by the disease." 

"We started an exercise group so Parkinson's patients can maintain the strength they currently have. Everyone is welcome to our exercise group even if you don't have Parkinson's, and all attendees are encouraged to participate," she emphasized. The exercise group meets at the Guttenberg hospital located at 200 Main St. in Guttenberg at 6 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. Classes last approximately 30 minutes and are led by Kim Franzen, a physical therapist from the Guttenberg hospital. Franzen is also certified in the Lee Silverman Voice Treatment therapy program.

A Parkinson's support group is also available at the hospital on the fourth Tuesday of each month following the 6 p.m. exercise class.

Hefel said, "New this year, we will be offering a grant program where local community members can apply for grants to use for their needs related to Parkinson's."

If you are interested in purchasing a shirt for this event contact Kara Beck at 563-231-6806.   For additional information call Erin Potter at 563-599-5778, Janet Hefel at 563-599-5252 or Angi Lawson at 563-880-0241 or visit the PACC website at www.pacc-iowa.org

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