About Us

The Parkinson’s Foundation makes life better for people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) by improving care and advancing research toward a cure. In everything we do, we build on the energy, experience and passion of our global Parkinson’s community.

We are leaders in ensuring expert Parkinson’s care, educating and empowering the Parkinson’s community and driving the understanding of Parkinson’s through research. As a national organization with local presence and impact, we bring help and hope to the estimated one million individuals in the United States, 10 million worldwide, who are living with Parkinson’s.

Georgia is home to two of 47 worldwide Parkinson’s Foundation Centers of Excellence, the most respected and sought after designation in the field of movement disorders:

  • Medical College of Georgia, Augusta University
  • Emory University

History

PD Gladiators was founded in 2013 by Larry and Ellie Kahn as a nonprofit organization that focused on the role of exercise in slowing the progression of Parkinson’s disease (PD).

After several frustrating months of doctor visits, Larry Kahn was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2010. Instead of simply accepting his fate, he summoned his inner gladiator and decided to fight back. To prepare for this fight, he and Ellie meticulously researched PD. They discovered that a robust regimen of vigorous and varied exercise could help slow the progression of the disease and dramatically improve the quality of life for people with PD.

After participating in classes adapted for PD, they teamed up with retired boxing champion Paul Delgado to start a small boxing class in Sandy Springs, GA, geared towards people with PD. These classes seemed to improve Larry’s symptoms and gave him hope that he could take back some control over the disease. Shortly thereafter, Larry and Ellie organized PD Gladiators with the mission to make sure every person with PD learned of the benefits exercise could provide.

After the inaugural Moving Day Atlanta in 2013, PD Gladiators was awarded their first Parkinson’s Foundation community grant, allowing them to create a network of specialized fitness classes that are safe and accessible for people with PD. By 2017, the PD Gladiators Fitness Network consisted of 60 weekly classes in metro Atlanta. The organization also reached out to neurologists and physical therapists to assure they were aware of the recent scientific literature on the benefits of exercise, while encouraging them to prescribe it to their PD patients.

On August 1, 2018, the Parkinson’s Foundation and PD Gladiators determined they can better serve the needs of the Parkinson’s community through an organizational unification. Operating as Parkinson’s Foundation Georgia, we will continue to manage the PD Gladiators Network and host the grassroots fundraising program — Moving Day Atlanta, A Walk for Parkinson’s. In addition, Parkinson’s Foundation Georgia will continue to increase awareness and offer free educational resources to the Parkinson’s community.

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