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Monday, July 24, 2017

Songs sung at Neuro Challenge stay at Neuro Challenge

July 24, 2017   BY RICHARD DYMOND

Care advisor Jennifer Williams speaks with Carol and Don Williams, Carol is challenged with Parkinson's. Neuro Challenge Foundation for Parkinson's opened a new office in Bradenton due to growing client numbers. Tiffany Tompkins

Although not approved by the American Medical Association, a Parkinson’s disease treatment a Bradenton woman endorses is called, “Singing Silly Girl Scout Songs in the Morning or Whenever.”
OK. We’re kidding. Peridia Golf and Country Club resident Carol Williams doesn’t really think singing Girl Scout camp songs will ever be a formal treatment for her Parkinson’s. But how can anyone discount the benefits of her intense laughter after belting out one of the old standards she recalls from her Girl Scout days?
“My mother cooked a chicken. She thought it was a duck,” Williams, 69, who has had Parkinson’s since 2013, sang out boldly in front of her care advisor from Neuro Challenge Foundation for Parkinson’s and her caregiver husband, Don.
“She put it on the table with the legs tied up!”

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Carol Williams talks about Neuro Challenge Foundation for Parkinson’s~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Both Carol and Don Williams and their care adviser, Jennifer Williams, who is not related to them, all bent over with laughter.
This lighthearted and important moment surrounding Parkinson’s, which is a chronic and progressive neurological condition that impacts movement and thinking, occurred Wednesday in a small office opened on July 10 by Neuro Challenge at 3639 Cortez Road, Suite 104, Bradenton.
The office represents the organization’s first official expansion into Manatee County, an expansion that has occurred due to high demand, said Robyn Faucy, executive director of Neuro Challenge Foundation for Parkinson’s.
Neuro Challenge provides more than 30 monthly education, support and care advising programs for the Parkinson’s community in the area including nine monthly in Manatee County, all at no charge with no insurance billing, Faucy said.
A session of free one-on-one care advising, which the Williams were getting, is also free and by appointment, Faucy added.
“The care advisor sits down and walks a family through every aspect of the disease,” Faucy said. “They will be provided a resource guide and answer any questions they may have.”
In order to do these programs for free, the organization will raise roughly $500,000 this year, about half of that from an annual gala, Faucy added.
“Everything else is from individual contributions, foundation grants and a couple of other events,” Faucy said.
Carol Williams has no idea if it’s the Parkinson’s that is causing the old songs to spring to her lips or just happy memories. But she said she feels safe in sharing in this space.
“I try to stay happy most of the time and he’s right there with me,” Williams spoke about her caregiver husband, Don, to her counselor after the laughing subsided. “It’s always, ‘Whatever you want to do today we will do that.’ This poor guy. In the morning, after I am already up out of the bedroom and into the kitchen, I start singing my old Girl Scout songs, which are ridiculous. But at least he laughs, too.”

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For the most part, Williams knows anything she says or sings in her Neuro Challenge private space stays there.

Meeting a Manatee demand

This expansion into Manatee happened because Neuro Challenge saw a need, Faucy said. 
People with Parkinson’s number an estimated 9,000 in Manatee, Sarasota and Charlotte counties, out of roughly 1 million who are afflicted nationwide, but the breakout of just Manatee sufferers is not known, Faucy said.
Neuro Challenge has made contact with roughly 2,000 of that 9,000 tri-county total and the number of those reaching out for its free services is growing rapidly, Faucy added.
“We saw the need because we had people from Manatee County coming to Sarasota to attend our various groups and activities,” Faucy added. “We saw an increase of the Manatee people we served from 2015 to 2016 of 38 percent. We realized, ‘There is a demand here. There is a need. We have to find a way to meet that need.’ ”
In 2016, Neuro Challenge started developing relationships with Manatee hospitals and neurologists to prepare for its expansion, Faucy said.
Right now, a bit more than halfway through 2017, Neuro Challenge, which will be celebrating its 10-year anniversary in 2018, has served the number of Manatee people it served in all of 2016, Faucy added.
Don Williams says the 7,000 who haven’t connected with Neuro Challenge are missing out on some important and free help.
“It has helped primarily by giving us a great deal of very helpful information to questions we might have,” Don Williams said. “But most of all it is support.” 
“They make sure I know I am not the only one with this disease and I am not alone,” Carol Williams said. “If I have to talk to someone I can pick up the phone at any time and call them. They will never shut you down. They will talk to you.”
Or sing with you.
To make an appointment for free care advising or for program information call Jennifer Williams at 941-266-5833 or
Richard Dymond: 941-745-7072@RichardDymond

Carol Williams meets with care advisor Jennifer Williams. Neuro Challenge Foundation for Parkinson's opened a new office in Bradenton due to growing client numbers. Tiffany Tompkins
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