ALL IN!™ Breakout Speakers

Our speakers are ALL IN for the movement disorders community.

The ALL IN!™ Summit features a full lineup of breakout sessions that wouldn’t be possible without the efforts of our community speakers. Scroll down to learn more!



Breakout Session 1 | 2:40 PM - 3:30 PM

Cherryl Choi

“My Role as a Care Partner”

Cherryl Choi is a full-time mom, full-time supply chain consultant, Parkinson’s advocate, and Team Fox member, the grassroots arm of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. She is especially proud of her role as a PACER to her endurance athlete husband, Jimmy Choi, who’s living with YOPD and is well-known for his Parkinson’s advocacy and his appearances as an American Ninja Warrior. For Cherryl, being a PACER means: P = Partner, A = Advocate, C = Cheerleader, E = Empower, and R = Repeats daily. This role has strengthened her relationship with Jimmy throughout their 20+ years of marriage as they manage the daily challenges of his Parkinson’s symptoms. In addition, she has led fundraising events alongside Jimmy, raising more than $500,000 for Parkinson’s research. She’s grateful to share her voice as a Parkinson’s care partner. 

Angie Sanchez, MD, MPH

“Equity & Access to Care”

Angie Sanchez, MD, MPH is a public health physician-scientist with family and community projections, dedicated to the health, well-being and advancement of communities. She has experience with vulnerable communities such as rural and low-income populations, and expertise in conducting health promotion and disease prevention programs in hospitals and community health centers located in underserved neighborhoods of Colombia. She is currently an instructor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School, and the Assistant Director of the Community Access, Recruitment, and Engagement (CARE) Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, where she is dedicated to investigating the science of community engagement to develop new strategies to improve access to research, health care services, and quality of life in vulnerable communities according to their individual needs. 

Judith Sachs

“Close Contact for Couples”

Judith Sachs is the Founder and Director of ANYONE CAN MOVE, an adaptive movement program in Philadelphia, PA. Although she started her professional life on the stage, and then moved to the healthcare arena, she now combines these two passions. Her goal is to get everyone moving, whether in a chair or across the floor. 

Judith is a certified Dance for PD® teacher in Philadelphia and a 30-year practitioner of taijiquan push-hands, a practice that maximizes balance and breath.  

In 2019, she piloted an innovative therapy program, CLOSE CONTACT for COUPLES® with PD, under a grant from Penn Medicine. In 2020, she was awarded a Parkinson’s Foundation COE grant to improve partner communication with couples online and, in 2021, was awarded a second year in cooperation with both the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorder Center, Penn Medicine and the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, Cleveland Clinic, Las Vegas, NV.


Jessica Fredericksen, MSW, CDP, CMDCP, CADDCT

“Brain Health in 30 Minutes”

Jessica Fredericksen is the Brain Health Program Manager at Goodwin Living, which offers senior living and healthcare services to adults ages 55+ in Northern Virginia and Washington, DC, including an innovative age-at-home program, home health and therapy services, and specialized, compassionate hospice care. Jessica is passionate about helping older adults live the most fulfilling lives they can, with professional experience in senior living management, writing, and public speaking. Her goal is to continue using her talents and passion to help educate and innovate in the area of brain health and dementia support.

Breakout Session 2 | 10:40 AM - 11:30 AM

Juan Ramirez-Castaneda, MD

“Let’s Talk About Medications”

Juan Ramirez-Castaneda, MD is a board-certified neurologist, movement disorders specialist at University of Texas Health in San Antonio, TX. Dr. Ramirez-Castaneda received his medical degree from Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador in Quito in 2004. He completed his residency and fellowship at Baylor College and has remained in Texas.

Lianna Marie

“Navigating the Fog: Making Life Easier for Care Partners”

A trained nurse, Lianna Marie served as her mom’s caregiver and advocate for thirty years through the many stages of Parkinson’s. She founded, an online community that has connected and helped thousands of people with the disease, their families, and their caregivers. 

Her two books (The Complete Guide for People With Parkinson’s Disease and Their Loved Ones and Everything You Need to Know About Caregiving for Parkinson’s Disease) have been sold in over 50 countries and provide practical, easy-to-understand information to make living with Parkinson’s easier. 

Marie speaks frequently to fellow caregivers, guardians, and nurse practitioners. Born and raised near Toronto, Marie now lives with her husband in the Pacific Northwest.

BJ Bement

“Joining Forces: How to Make a Bigger Impact in your Community”

Benjamin ‘BJ’ Bement lives in Baton Rouge, LA with his wife, Kelly. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at age 44 in 2013. Within four months of his diagnosis and after his ‘pity party,’ he jumped headfirst into advocacy. He has worked with the Parkinson’s Action Network, The Michael J Fox Foundation Public Policy division, GE Healthcare, and the Parkinson’s Foundation. He is very active in the Gulf Coast Chapter of Parkinson’s Foundation, logging over 500 volunteer hours last fiscal year. He received the Gulf Coast Chapter Volunteer of the year award. He loves to brainstorm, think outside the box, and seek new ways to boost, serve and energize the Parkinson’s community in Baton Rouge and beyond.   

Maria De León, MD

“Living Your Best Life with PD”

Maria De León, MD, is a world-renowned speaker and author of several books, including, Parkinson’s Diva: A Woman’s Guide to Parkinson’s Disease. As a woman living with PD and a movement disorder specialist, she brings a unique lens to living well with PD. Her work seeks to empower women living with chronic illness to find the best versions of themselves. Outside of her work in the Parkinson’s community, she enjoys teaching, blogging, and mentoring young women in East Texas, where she currently lives. 

Breakout Session 3 | 2:15 PM - 3:00 PM

Michelle Hespeler

“Panel on Peer-to-Peer Support”

Michelle Hespeler is the Founder and Executive Director of Beat Parkinson’s Today, a non-profit exercise program created specifically for people with PD. Michelle was diagnosed over 15 years ago with Parkinson’s at age forty. Prior to creating Beat PD, she was a physical education teacher, fitness trainer, and high school athletic coach for over thirty years. Since her diagnosis, Michelle has been at the forefront of promoting the positive effects of exercise on people with PD. Through determination, hard work, and the benefits of her Parkinson’s exercise journey, Michelle has been able to live a healthy life as a mother, wife, teacher, and friend. Michelle is currently partnering with a well-known university in novel, clinical exercise research, managing a support group, and providing educational forums for the Parkinson’s community. She is a well-known speaker respected for her patient advocacy, positive attitude, and hard work in helping the PD Community.  

Karen Raphael

“Panel on Peer-to-Peer Support”

Karen Raphael is a recently retired professor, psychologist, and clinical research scientist who spent decades leading NIH-funded research on chronic pain. After being diagnosed with PD 12 years ago, she utilized her research training and experience to keep up to date on PD-related published research, helping to maximize her own quality of life and care. She currently provides leadership to two Facebook groups. One focuses on identifying, translating and discussing newly published PD-related research literature in patient-relevant ways. The other group focuses specifically on PD-relevant exercise research. She often meets virtually and one-on-one with people recently diagnosed with PD, to help guide them toward getting the best possible evidence-based care and support.

Darbe Schlosser

“Panel on Peer-to-Peer Support”

Darbe Schlosser is the coach, consultant, and creator of the Motorvation System and the President/Founder of the Motorvation Foundation. Darbe helps people with Parkinson’s build a life of movement and re-discover their inner athlete by moving with more speed, accuracy, and purpose. She has her degree in Psychology and is currently finishing her master’s degree in motor control and motor learning at Columbia University Teachers College. She is active in the Parkinson’s community at a global level through advocacy and research. Darbe was awarded the Parkinson’s Foundation community grant for three years, which led to the creation of an online peer-based community of people with Parkinson’s who train others with PD. She is excited to continue growing this community in hopes to make system level changes. 

Christine Jeyachandran

“Handstands to Humour: The Honest ‘What Not To Do’ Parkinson’s Guide”

Christine Jeyachandran was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at age 37. It took her a while to get motivated, but she eventually went all in with her workouts, including by beginning a gymnastics regimen. Her video, Handstand for Parkinson’s, was a finalist at the World Parkinson Congress in 2019.  

While living in Peru, she connected with and cultivated the Parkinson’s community there, becoming an advocate for others with PD. This eventually led her to found Alianza Iberoamerican de Parkinson. She’s now involved in research, including as an Ambassador for the World Parkinson Congress (WPC) 2023 in Barcelona.  

Bernadette Baumann

“An Inspirational Guide: Preparing Yourself for the 4 Phases of PD”

Bernadette Baumann has taken on the role of care partner to her husband, John, with the same passion and strength that she has demonstrated in everything she has put her mind to. 

Bernadette’s husband has been living with Parkinson’s disease for 20 years, the last 10 years with Bernadette at his side. Bernadette took charge of her husband’s nutrition and exercise routine (or lack thereof), which resulted in him becoming, as he describes himself, “the healthiest person ever with a debilitating disease.” 

John Baumann

“An Inspirational Guide: Preparing Yourself for the 4 Phases of PD”

John Baumann has been living fully with Parkinson’s for nearly 20 years. He is an internationally-recognized inspirational speaker who has appeared at conferences across the United States and Canada. John brings to his audiences inspiring stories, important information, humorous observations, and his positive attitude. His expertise is in successful living, including how to live the highest quality life with (or without) an adverse, life-changing event or illness. 

Before Parkinson’s, Mr. Baumann was a Cornell-educated attorney who practiced law for 16 years. He’s also the author of, Decide Success – You ain’t dead yet. 

Breakout Session 4 | 10:40 AM - 11:30 AM

Anna Grill

“Power of Collaboration in the YOPD Community”

Anna Grill is the founder of Young Onset Parkinson’s Network (YOPN). She was on the fast track as a sales executive at a Fortune 200 company, and the youngest and only female on the executive team when she was diagnosed with YOPD in 2007 at the age of 38. 

At the time, she was living her best life- excelling in her career while successfully balancing the roles of wife and of mother to two girls who at the time were 9 and 7 years old. She was leading a division of 110 associates, traveling from South Carolina to Delaware all while serving as an active volunteer in her community. She worked for 10 more years in her full time, stressful career without disclosing her illness to workers, family and friends. 

Once Anna publicly disclosed her diagnosis, she became frustrated with the lack of resources available specifically for young onset. Never one to step away from a challenge, Anna decided to establish a national 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization dedicated to building a community and providing resources to others with YOPD. Her vision was to create a national organization specifically designed and targeted at supporting the YOPD community in a holistic, positive environment. The Young Onset Parkinson’s Network was created as a result of her vision. A 501c3 non-profit, it has grown quickly. At the time of this printing the organization has just under 500 members in 48 states and 17 countries. 

Anna is a vocal advocate, an active volunteer for the Parkinson’s Foundation and an Ambassador for Supernus Pharmaceuticals. An experienced executive, Anna brings her organizational, marketing and networking skills to YOPN. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and two goldendoodles. She enjoys frequent visits from her two adult daughters. 

Nancy Hooper

“Power of Collaboration in the YOPD Community”

Nancy Hooper and John Kolaya have been partners for the past five years. During that time, Nancy has added Parkinson’s Disease to her evolving list of volunteer causes, which currently includes teaching cooking to young kids and teens at Agile Learning Center in New York City (it’s her 8th year of service); and mentoring at GirlsWriteNow, an organization that pairs professional writers and editors with high school girls who want to hone their skills, write essays for college submissions and scholarships, and submit articles to magazines and writing contests. Nancy also chairs a PD Care Partners Support Group with John, edits the PD newsletter and website, and collaborates on presentations at the regional and national level.

Heather Kennedy

“Dynamic Flow: Managing PD with Unusual Perspectives”

“Power of Collaboration in the YOPD Community”

Heather Kennedy is the founder of Kathleen Kiddo, an advocacy site offering resources and connection through her writing and vlogs. An entertaining speaker known for unique talks and film presentations about living with the increasing disability of Parkinson’s, Heather writes from her home in the SF Bay Area. Since her diagnosis in 2011, she has collaborated with and serves on various boards for organizations such as the Davis Phinney Foundation, CPT, PF, APDA, YOPN, Brian Grant Foundation, Parkinson’s Life, and The World Parkinson Coalition. 

John Kolaya

“Power of Collaboration in the YOPD Community”

John Kolaya was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2011. Since that time, he has turned his diagnosis into a life of service to others with PD. He volunteers on various Parkinson’s Foundation committees and serves as a Parkinson’s Patient Advocate at JFK University Medical Center in Edison, NJ. In addition to his general PD support group, John facilitates four other meetings, including one for Care Partners, Newly Diagnosed, Young Onset, and DBS PwPs. In 2021 John launched his own website, The JFK Parkinson’s Advocate,, providing access to scheduled events, education, articles, and resources to more than 500 subscribers.

Bernard Coley

PD Movers: How to Reach Under-Engaged Communities in a Culturally Sensitive Manner to achieve Better PD Health Outcomes”

Bernard Coley is an executive with 50+ years of experience in the high technology industry. He received an AB in Applied Mathematics from Harvard University, an MBA from Stanford Business School, and a Doctor of Law (JD) from Stanford University Law School. Mr. Coley has a long and distinguished career of volunteer work including community development projects, supporting the arts, youth development, business leadership development and facilitating/mentoring entrepreneurial development in underserved and indigenous communities. He is also an experienced facilitator and mediator. Currently, he is a member of the Parkinson’s Foundation’s Research Advocates group and an Advisory Board member of the CA Chapter of the Parkinson’s Foundation. Together with his wife, they co-chair a special interest group focused on bringing Black perspectives to PD research. 

Denise Coley

PD Movers: How to Reach Under-Engaged Communities in a Culturally Sensitive Manner to achieve Better PD Health Outcomes”

Denise Coley is the Founder of Enable Your Vision, a firm that provides supplier diversity consulting to drive economic vitality for diverse businesses, corporations, and the communities in which they reside. Denise is also a Parkinson’s advocate focused on increasing Parkinson’s awareness and resources to under-engaged and remote global communities. She has served on multiple PD committees, including the Parkinson’s Foundation’s People with Parkinson’s Advisory Council and as the Mission and Outreach Chair of the Parkinson’s Foundation, CA Region Council. Denise also serves on the World Parkinson Coalition’s Engaging People with Parkinson’s in Clinical Research committee and is a member of the PD Avengers’ Wellness Committee. Together with her husband, they co-chair a special interest group focused on bringing Black perspectives to PD research.

John Dean, MA, CCC-SL

Hybrid Sessions: Moving Beyond Zoom”

John M Dean, MA, CCC-SL, is a speech language pathologist specializing in Parkinson’s and related disorders for over 15 years. In addition to clinical practice in movement disorders, he has previously served as founder and director of a network of interdisciplinary Parkinson’s programs for Life Care Centers of America as well as Director of Healthcare Strategy and Technology for the Davis Phinney Foundation. He is also cofounder of award-winning startups featured at the International Congress on Parkinson’s and Related Disorders (“Blue Ribbon Highlights”). He collaborates with Portuguese physiotherapist Josefa Domingos on PD3, a dual task exercise approach that combines movement, voice, and cognition.

Ana María Tamayo

Hybrid Sessions: Moving Beyond Zoom”

Ana Maria has dedicated my professional career to human rights issues both in the Peruvian public sector and in civil society organizations. She began her career in the Ombudsman’s Office, subsequently working in Access to Public Information, Citizen Participation and Open Government policies. 

Her interest in the movement disorders community began when her partner Raymond was diagnosed with PD in 2011. Being aware that PD is experienced within the family ecosystem, Ana Maria has developed a special interest in helping persons with PD and their loved ones, through support groups. 

In the last few years Ana Maria have informally reconverted herself as a facilitator of support groups for people with Parkinson’s and their loved ones here in Lima, as a way to process and make sense of what it means to live with Parkinson’s on a daily basis in the family ecosystem.

Girija Muralidhar

Breaking Down the Barriers of Participating in Research Studies”

Girija Muralidhar is a retired Research Scientist with expertise in immunology. She was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease in 2004. Soon after her diagnosis, she immersed herself into everything that is PD and became a patient/research advocate. She volunteered with Parkinson’s Foundation (PF) for PAIR and PPAC programs. She routinely reviews protocols for clinical trials and research grant applications for PF. She attends scientific conferences and talks about her life as a researcher turned research advocate. She is a PD support group leader who enjoys “translating” scientific articles into plain English and promoting Parkinson’s awareness among the general public.

Sherri Mosovsky

Breaking Down the Barriers of Participating in Research Studies”

Sherri Mosovsky is the Clinical Research Program Manager for the Movement Disorder’s Division in Neurology at the University of Pittsburgh / University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, in Pennsylvania. She has nearly 20 years pf experience coordinating and managing all aspects of clinical trials, ranging from non-profit to industry.

Breakout Session 5 | 2:15 PM - 3:00 PM

Myra Hirshhorn

“We’ve Got Answers: Q&A With Veteran Support Group Leaders”

Myra has been working with Parkinson’s support groups in South Jersey for the last sixteen years, and this has been her absolute pleasure. As a former care partner, she understands the impact support groups have on those living with the disease. She believes in everyone working in harmony and is grateful for the efforts and commitment of the entire Parkinson’s family: those living with PD, their families, doctors, nurses, social workers, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, and national organizations, included PMD Alliance. Myra is a PMD Alliance Ambassador.

Roger Jenkins

“We’ve Got Answers: Q&A With Veteran Support Group Leaders”

Roger was diagnosed with YOPD in 2005, at age 47. In 2016, he chose to have DBS surgery, followed by receiving the Medtronic Percept Neurostimulator with groundbreaking Intellisense in 2020. He’s a proud ambassador of PMD Alliance and, since DBS, has been walking well and living with great hope alongside many others with Parkinson’s. 

Dave Orlowski

“We’ve Got Answers: Q&A With Veteran Support Group Leaders”

Dave was officially diagnosed with PD in 1999. He has stayed active since then with various forms of exercise and credits support group involvement with keeping his attitude positive. He currently resides in Mission Viejo, CA, and is one PMD Alliance’s original ambassadors.

Judy Reynolds

“We’ve Got Answers: Q&A With Veteran Support Group Leaders”

After a career working in computer security, Judy retired to Phoenix to be near her son and grandchildren. Her hobbies became running, weight training, hiking, and camping.  

Judy was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2014 at age 72. Her first reaction was confusion – how can this be happening to me? Her second reaction was to research PD as much as she could. She joined her first support group and met the greatest group of people she could have ever hoped to meet, and they are still her friends to this day. Before long, she was a Support Group Facilitator. After learning that exercise was essential in thriving with PD, she found a great exercise program and became an active participant. 

Today, Judy volunteers with physical therapy students, participates in national studies, and is a PMD Alliance Ambassador.

Sarah Stegall

“We’ve Got Answers: Q&A With Veteran Support Group Leaders”

Sarah Stegall has been the co-leader of the Parkinson’s Disease Support Group of Southern New Mexico for nearly nine years, a group that has become a lifeline to its members. Between leading monthly meetings, scheduling guest speakers, chairing the monthly board meetings and three successful symposiums, coordinating annual fundraisers, and keeping financial records, this volunteer position has kept Sarah a busy retiree.  

Sarah and her husband of 44 years have lived in beautiful Las Cruces, NM for most of their marriage. Blessed with many 4-legged furry children, the family enjoys RVing, cooking, and spending time with family and friends.

Susan Scarlett

“What’s a Laugh Worth?”

Susan has loved life all of her 71+ years.  She is a wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, student, and friend. In 2015, she discovered she is also a person with Parkinson’s (PWP) and, for a while, this left her numb. YES, numb…AND she instantly found herself surrounded by the love and support of family and friends. Susan’s nephew, Adam, challenged and inspired her to exercise by attempting a nonstop, 65-mile swim. It was featured in the award-winning documentary, VICTORY SWIM.  

Robert Cochrane reached out to Susan after seeing VICTORY SWIM, sharing his hypothesis that improv could improve quality of life measures for PWP…AND she became his official First Follower. She now serves as a Mentor in the Yes, And…eXercise Day One program, as the Co-host of the YouTube Daily Dose of Dope(-amine), the Festival Director for the Yes, And eXercise Festival in Texas (YAX F iT) and, generally, as an all-around Robin to Robert’s Batman.

Meredith DeFranco

The Perfect Marriage: Combining Exercise & Support Groups”

Meredith Defranco received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida in Exercise Physiology and her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Duke University. She currently works at UF Health Shands as part of the interdisciplinary team at the UF Fixel Institute for Neurologic Diseases.  

Seeing a need for returning to socialization and exercise following the pandemic’s social isolation, Meredith founded a local grassroots non-profit organization called “The Parkinsonlife Corporation: pdLIFE- Lifestyle, Information, Fitness, and Empowerment.” The group provides outreach throughout the Tampa Bay Area, hosting exercise classes per week, educational seminars, and social activities.

Valerie Herrero

The Perfect Marriage: Combining Exercise & Support Groups”

Valerie is a retired accountant and was a care partner to her late husband, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at age 51. Today, she is a passionate advocate in her community. She is certified in Rock Steady Boxing and is a spin instructor. She’s an active board member at Parkinsonlife Corporation Foundation, or “pdLIFE,” where she serves as Treasurer, supports their exercise classes, is the unofficial photographer, and hosts monthly educational support meetings. She also serves as a PMD Alliance Ambassador. Her mission is to spread joy and hope to the Parkinson’s community every day, bringing smiles to their faces.   

Julie Worden

Lead Teacher: ALL IN! Social Mixer

Julie Worden danced with the Mark Morris Dance Group for 18 years, and has been teaching Dance for PD® since 2012. She is a practitioner of Cranial Sacral Therapy, a certified Kundalini Yoga teacher and PADI Scuba Divemaster. These experiences continue to inform her passion for Dance for PD and its wondrous journey through music and dance.

Artists' Panel

Christopher Lion

Christopher Lion is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Quiver, a curated online collection of art by people living with Parkinson’s. Previously he was a Managing Director at The Mather Group and Chief Operating Office at Barnett Financial. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in March of 2018, at age 54. He serves on the Board of Directors at Power for Parkinson’s, and lives in Austin, Texas. He has competed in many marathons, including the 2022 Boston Marathon, and many other athletic events. 

David Brault

David, who was diagnosed with PD in 2013, is a painter known for his landscapes of Scotland, England, Ireland, and southern Maryland. His paintings represent a love of travel and adventure fostered by a 23-year career in the United States Navy, followed by time spent living in the rural community of southern Anne Arundel county, Maryland. 

Clara Kluge

Always open to mirthful whimsy, Clara is a proud Canadian whose diagnosis of PD a decade ago re-kindled her creative passions. After a precocious start in fine arts and a fulfilling career in a variety of teaching and therapeutic roles focused on deaf and hard-of-hearing populations, Clara has returned to a broader palette of artistic endeavors. Her recent artistic adventures include visual arts in digital and paint media, textile work, acting, designing and crafting plays, and improvisational merry making. All these activities have been fueled by the laughter and joy shes able to spark amongst and for persons with PD and their supporters. Her international efforts to harness and enhance creative spirits with the wider PD community have included the Crane Dance Project highlighted at the WPC in Kyoto in 2019 and the “I am Dance” project with the WPC in Barcelona in July, 2023. 

Jennifer "Niffie" Thomas

Jennifer “Niffie” Thomas is an artist who lives in Vinemont, Alabama with her husband and three dogs. Born in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, Niffie spent a majority of her life as a competitive Irish Steph Dancer competing internationally. In 2016 at the age of 46, Niffie was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s. In August 2019, after being accepted into a research study for Parkinson’s, Niffie underwent Deep Brain Stimulation surgery and received a directional brain implant. Almost immediately following the surgery, she became compelled to paint, draw, and sketch. This compulsion was unusual in that she had never done art in this form, and as she puts it, she had “never been able to draw a stick figure.” Her physicians believe her new artistic interest and abilities are a side effect of her brain stimulation and are working on a case study regarding this phenomenon. She can be found on Instagram, Facebook, Tiktok, and Twitter as @theparkieartist. 

Veteran Support Group Leaders Panel

Mary Jane Berry, RN

Mary Jane Berry, RN, is a native Texan, who graduated UTMB Galveston as a registered nurse. Her career has spanned diverse roles, including ICU nurse, radiotherapy RN, OB-GYN nurse, school nurse, disability examiner, Medicaid Program nurse, and project manager responsible for HIPAA implementation for the state of Texas. 

Today, Mary Jane is best known for her work with the Parkinson’s community, where she is the facilitator of a 1200+ member Parkinson’s support group that she has led for 12 years. She is the caregiver to her husband, who has been living with Parkinson’s for 20+ years.

Perry Heilman

Perry Heilman, a long-time Arizonan, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2010. Initially, he withdrew socially until he found a surprising new hobby which uncovered a part of him he didn’t know was there. He then dove head first into learning all he could about Parkinson’s. Exercise and a new social stance, which included volunteering and support group participation, gave him a positive perspective to help him overcome and adapt to every challenge. He realized that if a new spark could motivate him, perhaps his story could help light new fires in others. PMD Alliance was born around that time, and he joined in, discovering together that no one is alone, and that attitude, heart, and soul can open doors that many think are closed and locked. Perry is now a PMD Alliance Ambassador and support group leader.

Isabell Senft-Daniel

Isabell’s connection to Parkinson’s started over 25 years ago when she was working as a physical therapist in Germany. Seeing many people with PD in my clinic at the time, Isabell became passionate about helping these individuals improve their quality of life. After moving to Tennessee, her first client with Parkinson’s in the US had belonged to a support group before she had moved to eastern Tennessee. The client asked if Isabell would be willing to start a support group in our community, and, working with many other people with Parkinson’s, she saw this as the perfect opportunity to help. Today, Isabel manages 7 different support groups with a great community outreach program which includes education, movement classes, advocacy, respite care, equestrian guided therapy to address mental health difficulties, and meal delivery for homebound PwP. 

Lauren Simmons

Lauren was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2016, at age 54. She currently spends her time in the gym or advocating for people with Parkinson’s. She is an ambassador for PMD Alliance, a support group leader, and the founder of, a resource site for people with Parkinson’s in her hometown of Orange County, California.