The National Parkinson Foundation Western Pennsylvania was formed in 1995 by volunteers with the purpose of supporting research efforts to find a cure and provide support for those with Parkinson's disease (PD) and their families. The Foundation was largely a volunteer effort until 2000, when the Foundation hired an executive director to expand patient services and public awareness, and to establish the Foundation’s identity as an independent organization. The Parkinson Wellness Program was initiated in 2001, providing physical exercise, cognitive stimulation, and socialization, all tailored to the needs of people with PD. These programs are offered at five sites in Western Pennsylvania along with a high-functioning exercise group through UPMC.
Since 2005, the Foundation has increased its involvement with local and regional support groups. In 2007, a young-onset support group was created to help those diagnosed with PD under the age of 50. Program coordination and leadership assistance is now provided for 22 regional support groups serving 850 families. Support groups have expanded from western PA into Ohio, West Virginia and east to Altoona and State College Pennsylvania.
Our weekend retreat, Living Well with Parkinson's Disease, began in 2006 and is now in its fifth year. The retreats have focused on self-management strategies such as exercise, nutrition, stress and motor and non-motor symptom management. In this context we have examined many dimensions of living with PD, including the physical, psycho-social, and medical aspects. The annual Living Well with Parkinson's Disease Retreat is the only program of its kind in our area.
The Foundation has played a vital role in encouraging the growth of regional PD research programs, facilities, and scientists through its interface with research institutions and support of research through research grants. Since its founding, the organization has paid directly or committed $750,000 to PD research.
There are approximately 8,000 to 10,000 people in Western PA currently suffering from PD and that number will be increasing due to the aging population of the “baby boomer” generation. Each day we work towards fulfilling our mission with the help of our board of directors, staff, volunteers, and donors. As the leading community resource for Parkinson's disease in Western Pennsylvania, we are committed to serving the Parkinson community with services, information, education, and support.
The National Parkinson Foundation Western Pennsylvania is located in the North Hills area:
3468 Babcock Boulevard, Pittsburgh PA 15237