Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

June 18, 2013

Local man is catalyst for Parkinson's Support Group

The Daily Iowegian

---- — Thanks to Jerry Boblenz, a Parkinson’s Support Group is starting in Appanoose County. Mercy Medical Center will be holding an initial meeting on Thursday, June 20 at 5:30 p.m. in the south cafeteria of the hospital.

Thinking that he probably had a pinched nerve, Boblenz was shocked when diagnosed with Parkinson’s in November of 2012.

“I didn’t know what to think. I’d heard so many horror stories about the disease and began to imagine myself in those scenarios,” he said.

His shock soon turned into a thirst to educate himself about the disease which led to searching out what resources were available. When he found out that the closest support group was in Fairfield, he began researching how to start a local group and visited with Katy Paxton, his physical therapist at the hospital about whether she would be interested in heading up a group.

With all his research in hand and a commitment from Katy, he approached Ann Young about the possibility of the hospital sponsoring a Parkinson’s Support group.

“We are always happy to sponsor support groups and the most important component, having a willing professional to lead the group is all we needed, “she recently said.

Paxton, who received her Doctor of Physical Therapy from Des Moines University, is a member of the hospital’s Rehab Services Department. She works with patients who have neurological issues including strokes, Parkinson’s, and multiple sclerosis as well as orthopedic and pediatric patients.

“I am looking forward to see how many people come to our initial meeting and excited about the opportunity to provide a support network for area Parkinson’s patients and their caregivers, “she said.

According to Boblenz it’s important to know that you are not alone. The whole Parkinson’s program is there to ease the burden for both the patient and the caregiver but it is also an opportunity to learn more about the disease and what other people are experiencing. “There are strategies and tools out there available and we need to share those with each other, “he added.

He believes this is a great opportunity for those suffering from the disease and he hopes anyone within reasonable driving distance considers becoming part of the group.