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July Parkinson's Spotlight

Learn more about Steve Hovey

July Parkinson's Spotlight

Meet Steve Hovey

This month I had the pleasure of interviewing the man behind Help for Parkinson's, Steve Hovey. Steve became involved with the Davis Phinney Foundation about 2 years after his diagnosis, in 2007. "They were the first Parkinson’s organization that talked about what we, those of us dealing with the disease, can do to live our best possible life. Not only that, but they also had such a positive, upbeat way about them – it was very refreshing!" Steve shared. Steve said that the Davis Phinney Foundation’s philosophy and approach really resonated with him.

Steve was part of the first cohort of the Davis Phinney Foundation Ambassador Program, which started about 10 years ago. One of the many responsibilities of an Ambassador is to speak with people dealing with Parkinson’s, either a person with Parkinson’s (PWP) or a concerned Care Partner. He then realized how confused and scared so many of these folks were. "Many of these conversations broke my heart, and the help and guidance they needed were things I just took for granted," Steve shared. He spoke to people who just got diagnosed and now believe their life as they know it is over or people who have been living with the disease and the symptoms are starting to worsen. Finding a way to help everyone struggling with the diagnosis became a passion for Steve.

Steve started Help for Parkinson’s to focus on helping the Parkinson’s community in the greater Capital Region live their best possible life. Help for Parkinson’s is very much a behind the scenes organization working towards:

  • Informing the Parkinson’s community of the resources and programs to help them live well that are available to them here in the Capital District.

  • Learning opportunities, like the Healthy Parkinson’s Communities event held this past April in conjunction with the Davis Phinney Foundation.

  • Funding existing Parkinson’s focused exercise programs. We are currently subsidizing a boxing program, a dance program. We have made a substantial donation to the Saratoga YMCA to support their new Rock Steady Boxing program, which will start in September.

  • Continuously looking for gaps in programs and resources within the 518 and seeking ways to fill them, i.e., exercise programs, support groups, etc.

  • Offering a comprehensive website, as well as a monthly newsletter and weekly blogs to keep everyone current on what is going on in the local and national Parkinson’s world.

  • Lastly, just being there as a sympathetic ear and to point folks in the right direction so they can get the care they need.

So, as you can see, Help for PD is totally committed to the local Parkinson’s community and is always working on new ways to enhance what is available.

When asked how Steve lives well with PD, he shared that he tries to live a healthy lifestyle and does some form of exercise every day – biking, weight training, stretching and balance exercises, or just taking a walk. He also tries to eat a healthy diet and get enough sleep, which is challenging at times. Steve also finds it extremely rewarding to give back and has been involved in various nonprofits over the past 20 years, “I just think that being around other people and having a purpose is important for everyone, whether you have Parkinson’s. or not.”

Do you have any advice for our readers?

Don’t obsess over the fact that you or your loved one has Parkinson’s. I’m not minimizing the fact that we don’t have a cure, and it is a progressive disease. I know that’s tough to deal with at times. With that said, there is so much we can do to feel better and, hopefully, slow the progression. What keeps me motivated and positive is living for the moment, taking life one day at a time, and focusing on all the positive things in my life. I honestly don’t think about what life is going to look like 2 years, 5 years, 10 years from now. Maybe there'll be a way to stop the progression by then. Maybe they’ll have a cure! Who knows, but all we can do is hope. Live well today, and don’t worry about things that are out of your control. With that said, there is so much we can do to feel better and, hopefully, slow the progression.

Michael J Fox recently said something that, I think, is perfect - "With gratitude, optimism is sustainable. And if you can find something to be grateful for, then you can find something to look forward to, and you carry on."

One last comment for the readers of this newsletter. Help for Parkinson’s is a 501c3 charity serving the Greater Capital Region. 100% of the donations that we receive go back to our community to enhance the programs, resources, and partnerships offered to our Parkinson’s community. If you like what we're doing, please consider supporting Help for Parkinson’s by making a tax-deductible donation. We are looking for people to volunteer for anything involving accounting, marketing, site development, fundraising, grant writing, and community outreach.

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