María-Elena Reyes from Carolina, PR
Nominated by Edna Delgado
When María-Elena Reyes learned about her Parkinson's Disease diagnosis, there wasn't much information available in Puerto Rico. María-Elena, her husband and her friends sought information from NPF. They translated, printed and distributed it through the city of Carolina, inviting people to a meeting.
Due to the response, María-Elena and her husband founded the Asociación Puertorriqueña de Parkinson, (1992), a non- profit organization, to help PD’s patients and their families to attain better quality of life, regardless of Parkinson’s.
Once she became aware that when the Parkinson’s progresses, patients might feel depressed, hopeless and “disable” for community-activities, and tend to isolated, she established support-groups (8) through the Island to provide orientation, recreational activities, speech and physical therapies, and special sessions dealing with self-esteem and positive-thinking, to help the patients and their families to express their worries and stressors while receiving support from peers, as happened with Papi-Juan and my family. These activities strengthen us to face Parkinson’s.
María-Elena published her book Parkinson… ¿y qué? (2006), (Parkinson… and so what?) as a testimony of how she “deals” with her PD’s. Regardless her Parkinson’s and her 75 years old (04-11-1937), she doesn’t rest: so she hosts the radio-program ¿Quieres ser sano? (Do you want to be healing?), to encourage hope for PD’s patients, and she writes for the Association’s newsletter La Voz.
Because of her creative attitude facing the Parkinson Disease, and her devotion, selfless and courageous dedication to help PD’s patients to achieve the best quality of life, MARÍA-ELENA IS OUR SUPERSTAR.