State of Kansas to Proclaim April as Parkinson’s Awareness Month

TOPEKA, Kans. March 22, 2013 — On April 1st, the state of Kansas will formally declare the month of April as Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month.

The proclamation will take place on the floor of the Kansas House of Representatives through a resolution introduced by Representative Ronald W. Ryckman, a House Republican from the state’s 115th district.

Representative Ryckman’s decision to sponsor the resolution was due in part to a conversation with J. Basil Dannebohm, a rural advocate and Parkinson’s patient.

“In 2005, an estimated 5,500 Kansans suffered from Parkinson’s Disease. In 2012 that number increased to an estimated 9,000. What’s even more alarming is that today’s best Parkinson’s drug was discovered in 1967. There’s a clear message in all of this: we need to build awareness and keep funding Parkinson’s research,” said Ryckman.

Dannebohm will travel to Topeka to be on hand for the proclamation and to express his appreciation on behalf of Kansans who are living with the disease.

“By distinguishing the month of April as Parkinson’s Awareness Month, the State of Kansas joins with individuals and organizations around the world committed to promoting awareness and working toward a cure. I offer my sincere appreciation to Representative Ryckman and the entire state legislature for this historic proclamation,” said Dannebohm.

Angela Lawrence, Executive Director of National Parkinson Foundation Heartland, applauded the news.

“Although we don’t know the causes or have a cure, raising awareness of Parkinson’s disease encourages people to speak to a physician if they, or their loved one have symptoms, so that they can get a good diagnosis and proper treatment to maintain the highest quality of life possible,”said Lawrence.

NPF Heartland is a chapter of the National Parkinson Foundation (NPF), serving Kansas and Western Missouri, dedicated to improving the quality of life for people affected by Parkinson’s disease through programs, education, advocacy and research.

For 19 years, Rob Peppers was chief meteorologist for CBS-affiliated television station WIBW in Topeka, Kansas. In 2007, he stepped down due to his health. Peppers, a Parkinson’s patient and advocate, echoed Dannebohm’s gratitude.

“Awareness is the first step toward finding new treatments for Parkinson’s, and we are grateful to the Legislature for recognizing good people who have to fight this awful disease every day,” said Peppers.

Mr. Peppers, who serves as president of the Hatke Parkinson Support Group and a board member for the Northeast Kansas Parkinson’s Association, will be present at the State House for the proclamation.

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder that affects nearly one million people in the US. Although promising research is being conducted, there is currently no cure for or definitive cause of Parkinson’s disease.