Parkinson’s disease (PD) has been a part of my family’s life for quite a long time. My mom, Sybil Miyamoto, was diagnosed with PD about 22 years ago. Watching my mom’s journey with PD has inspired my family to make a difference in the Parkinson’s community.
While searching for ways to support my mom, I became involved with a local grassroots organization in northern California. This experience showed me how Parkinson’s affects so many people from all walks of life and it made me want to further my involvement. A colleague of mine at Edward Jones, Kent Donnelly, encouraged me to check out the Parkinson’s Foundation.
After learning more about the Foundation, I decided to create a team for Moving Day Sacramento. It turns out that some of my local Edward Jones colleagues also had a connection to Parkinson's, so they joined our team as well. My favorite part about Moving Day is seeing different families come together to support the people they love. Everyone at Moving Day has a connection to PD, so it's truly a community.
With the support of family, friends and colleagues, Team Edward Jones Sacramento quickly became the top fundraising team at our local Moving Day. It has been so fulfilling to feel like we're making a difference. Edward Jones’ involvement with Moving Day continues to grow, with our company’s national team supporting walks in various cities. My hope is to one day have an Edward Jones team present at every Moving Day event across the country.
My advice to anyone who has a loved one living with Parkinson’s is to get involved with the Parkinson’s community. There are a ton of people out there who want to help, and the PD community is welcoming, loving and caring. Supporting this cause has truly become a family affair for us. My dad, who is my mom’s primary care partner, leads a PD support group. My son, Matthew, created a fundraiser called “Putts for Parkinson’s” to support the Parkinson’s Foundation throughout his junior golf career. My younger siblings, Mark and Leslie, both have families involved with the Foundation as well; like my niece, Miya Huffman, who volunteered for the California chapter.
I also encourage the PD community to use all available resources, whether it is through the Parkinson's Foundation or your local PD organization. Remember to slow down and communicate as a family. In addition to my immediate family, my mom has also received tremendous support from our extended family and friends. It’s been incredible to watch my mom’s friends support her, help her and show her love.
One of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had so far with the Parkinson’s Foundation is serving on the California chapter board. So many people on the board have a personal connection to Parkinson's disease or are living with PD themselves, and everyone on the board cares deeply about making life better for people with Parkinson’s. Finding a cure for the disease is going to require momentum, but I'm confident that the passionate PD community will be able to create this momentum.
Connect with your local community at Moving Day, A Walk for Parkinson’s. Find a Moving Day event near you.