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Foundation raises Parkinson's disease awareness

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - On Tuesday night, the Parkinson Foundation of Oklahoma made a stop in Lawton during their 16-city trip to raise awareness of the disease. During day 2 of the Parkinson Blitz 20-day tour, a foundation representative talked about every part of the disease with a local support group and their family members. The representatives touched on ways to cope with having the disease and new research in lessening the symptoms.

Teri Andrade is the leader of the local support group. She has been living with Parkinson's for 8 years, and has helped grow the group in Lawton.

She says with this disease, knowledge is key.

“I didn't know much about it myself,” said Andrade. “I was 38, and I always thought it was something people get when they are much older.”

Andrade says when she was diagnosed with Parkinson's, she was in denial.

She reached out to support groups, and found that Lawton's group wasn't as strong as she thought it should be.

“I know there is more people in Lawton who have this,” said Andrade.

Now, the group meets once a month, and was a destination for the 16 city blitz for the Parkinson Foundation of Oklahoma tonight.

“It's a great group,” said the foundation’s executive director Bruce McIntyre. “It's an energetic and encouraging group.”

McIntyre spoke to the group, and even had discussions with them on their own personal experiences with the disease.

He says just talking about it can help them cope with the disease.

“The truth is for a lot of us is when we meet people and learn more, we put tools in the tool box of things we didn't already know,” said McIntyre. “And we also relieve fears that are unnecessary. So to get out and connect with other people with Parkinson's, to learn more just really helps you do better in the long run.”

Andrade says that even though everyone in her group experiences Parkinson's in a different way, with tremors or balance problems, she says knowing you're not alone helps.

"And it does something when somebody says I know what you're going through," said Andrade.

The foundation is moving on to their next city, but the local group meets the first Tuesday of every month.

If you want to reach out to the group, you can contact Andrade at gandt89@sbcglobal.net or at The Christian Center at 580-280-0114.

Copyright 2016 KSWO. All rights reserved.

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