Lori Katz from West Orange, NJ
Nominated by her sister Lisa Suss
My sister, Lori Katz is a superstar. Fortunately for the Parkinson’s community, she is a Parkinson’s superstar, having been diagnosed with PD when she was 51 years old. A former Learning Consultant in the Cherry Hill, NJ school system, when she retired she transferred her considerable passion and commitment from her former students to the extensive Parkinson’s network she has developed. She discovered gaps in PD advocacy in the Philadelphia/Southern New Jersey area and is filling those needs through her own personal efforts.
Lori has established a Women’s Parkinson’s Support Group at Pennsylvania Hospital This group is so successful that it easily attracts 20-30 participants per session. She knew that women with Parkinson’s have different issues from men. This group’s dedicated participants have proved that her perception of an unfulfilled need was right.
She has also created her own monthly newsletter, which highlights research topics and, probably most importantly, has a comprehensive calendar of Parkinson’s related activities in her area. She compiles the information and sends it out to a mailing list of over 80 PD patients and medical professionals, more evidence of the extensive influence she has in the Parkinson’s community.
Lori has been trained as a Research Advocate and volunteers in the Physical Therapy Department of Pennsylvania Hospital. She participates in the Dance For Parkinson’s program. Her extraordinary advocacy efforts are creating a positive and uniting effect in the Parkinson’s community in the Southern New Jersey/Philadelphia area. How fortunate!
Also nominated by her husband Sidney Katz
In 2005, following her initial diagnosis and coming to understand Parkinson’s, my bride, Lori, resolved two things: First, she would not be defined or owned by the disease. Second, perhaps more significantly, that she would be the one to take charge of it! Although the disease (and medication side effects! Oy vay!) forced her to retire from her fast-paced, high pressure job, she did so knowing that she would take the skills, compassion and determination that made her a superb advocate for children and direct them – at an adjusted pace – to her work with the world of PD.
Besides for the many activities that have helped her maintain her own body and spirit – exercise, meditation, Dance for PD, art classes, attending support groups – her determination to take charge of PD has brought her to become an advocate and agent for support and change. She represented New Jersey at the 2010 PAN Conference in Washington. She was trained and certified as a Research Advocate by the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation. She has her own team for Philadelphia’s Stamp Out Parkinson’s Walk. She volunteers weekly in the PT department of the Dan Aaron Parkinson’s Center at Pennsylvania Hospital. Realizing there were no support groups for women with PD, she began one, drawing close to 30 participants a session. She began a newsletter for person’s with Parkinson’s, organizing current information. She participates in research studies. The list goes on. This woman, my bride of nearly 38 years, is the picture of a Parkinson’s Superstar!