ECU Parkinson’s Disease program helps community

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – ECU is working to provide therapy services to members of the community who have limited access to treatments for a very degenerative disease.

April is National Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month and ECU’s College of Allied Health Sciences is stepping up to help. ECU physical and occupational therapy students are working to provide services for patients in the Greenville area. The exercise classes are aimed at slowing down the disease.

According to the World Health Organization, Parkinson’s is a degenerative condition of the brain associated with motor issues. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates nearly 1200 North Carolinians died from the disease in 2021.

“Although I have certainly progressed in my Parkinson’s too it hasn’t stopped it completely, but I wish we had this kind of exercise all the time. It would be great because it’s encouraging when you go with other people and work out,” a participant with Parkinson’s, Sue Wright said.

The program was recently awarded $16,000 by the Parkinson’s Foundation to expand classes which are offered free to participants. Additional funding comes from the NC Chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association which helps to provide equipment for the program.

“We have occupational therapy to also help us. We are also able to provide things people have trouble with such as writing and eating you know with tremors just keeping something on a spoon to be able to eat and that fine motor control even thinking tasks,” ECU Physical Therapy Department, Dr. Amy Wedge said.

If you or someone you know has Parkinson’s and would be interested in attending classes you can contact the Parkinson Clinic at ECU by phone at 252-744-6199.