I find myself sitting and thinking of what I just experienced in Montreal as part of the World Parkinson Congress. First, the best one yet in terms of unifying the Parkinson’s community. Second, seeing firsthand, the shift in the research community and how they perceive the patient and their involvement in issues related to care and advocacy. The times are changing and it behooves us to be part of this change as we work on developing better treatments, while working on a cure, whatever the definition of a cure means for you. Some say stop the disease, others say delay the disease, while still others want to reverse the damage already done. This one is for another post.
Some of the things that came to mind as I was leaving Montreal were that I was leaving many family members as we all returned to our areas of the world to continue our work, and the connections that were made with so many new people that I met (whom now become part of the first group listed). The exciting thing about the WPC and its uniqueness is that many of these same people were people living with PD, allied health professionals, clinicians, researchers, and anyone else that plays an integral part in our world-wide community. I look forward to forging quality relationships with many of these people that will reap benefits for all of us living with this disease.
The excitement that the WPC brought to the PD community was palpable throughout the week, and I’m sure it will help push research forward, as patients shared and learned from researchers, AND JUST AS IMPORTANT, researchers shared and learned from patients. I’ve expressed previously that one of the most important meetings that I’ve attended as part of my advocacy work was the 2nd WPC in Scotland, and now I can add this WPC to that list. There is something about the international PD community coming together to share, learn from each other, form friendships, and continue their work in their area of interest as advocates around the world.
There was much more going on at the WPC and it will take a while to think through the impact we have made going forward. Some thoughts for later include my infamous visit with the Montreal cab driver, raising the bar, strengthening connections, and realizations of a journey that has just begun.