Parkinsons benefit planned at Wynfrey Hotel

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Parkinson Association of Alabama (PAA) will hit the runway Oct. 3, but it won&8217;t be at the Shelby County Airport.

The 2006 annual fashion show fundraiser, hosted by the Birmingham Chapter of the PAA, is coming to the Wynfrey Hotel at the Galleria Mall in Hoover and will feature fashions provided by Belk&8217;s in Alabaster.

Chairperson for the event, Thelma Roberts explained the reasoning behind a fashion fundraiser saying, &8220;It&8217;s a fun event and pretty event. It takes a lot of working together, so it binds the families together.&8221;

This year the theme is &8220;Stylish Days, Glamorous Nights,&8221; with a color scheme of ivory and black. During the luncheon, a special candle lighting ceremony will be held, and candles families have sponsored will be lit in honor of loved ones. Singer Ivan Weintrab will also contribute by singing favorite Frank Sinatra selections by the candlelight.

The bulk of the profits raised at the gala luncheon will go to Parkinson disease research and finding a cure. According memorandum from Paul E. Hayne, president of PAA, within the past five years research has produced breakthroughs in medications and surgical interventions towards a cure for Parkinson, but in order to maintain momentum toward a cure, money is needed for further research.

The rest of the funds will go toward assistance for families in purchasing medications and care-giving programs for patients suffering from Parkinson disease.

Betty Haynie, wife of a Parkinson disease patient, is a member of the PAA and been actively promoting the fashion show and requesting

donations from businesses and individuals. Her husband, Joe, was diagnosed with Parkinson two weeks after retiring and the news brought many changes to their lifestyle and dreams. &8220;We had a camper and wanted to travel, but had to sell it,&8221; she said.

&8220;It&8217;s so hard for him,&8221; she continued. &8220;His whole body will quiver, but he never complains. He doesn&8217;t feel sorry for himself.&8221;

Parkinson disease is a disease of the brain, where the body lacks the chemical dopamine. The loss of dopamine causes four primary symptoms including resting tremors, typically of the hands, stiffness of muscles, bradykinesia, which is a slowness of movement, and a lack of balance or unsteadiness while standing or changing positions. So far, the cause of the disease still eludes doctors and researchers.

Although the disease is found most commonly in older people, it&8217;s now beginning to strike at and earlier age. Parkinson is slowly progressive and symptoms will worsen over time. In the beginning of the disease, changes can be so subtle they are commonly mistaken for aging.