YOPN empowers individuals like you to connect, share experiences, and advocate for a brighter future.
Living with young onset Parkinson's disease (YOPD) is challenging, but you're not alone. The Young Onset Parkinson's Network empowers individuals like you to connect, share experiences, and advocate for a brighter future. One powerful way to make a difference is by becoming an advocate for Parkinson's research and legislation.
Why Advocacy Matters:
Increased Research Funding: By advocating for increased government and private funding, we can accelerate research into the causes, treatments, and, ultimately, a cure for Parkinson's.
Improved Legislation: Advocacy can lead to better policies supporting YOPD patients, such as access to affordable healthcare, disability benefits, and workplace accommodations.
Greater Awareness: Sharing your story and raising awareness about YOPD can combat stigma, build public support, and attract more resources to the fight.
How You Can Get Involved:
1. Educate Yourself:
Familiarize yourself with current research efforts and policy initiatives related to Parkinson's. Outside of the resources and information provided by YOPN, organizations such as the Michael J. Fox Foundation, Parkinson's Foundation, Davis Phinney Foundation, and National Institutes of Health provide valuable material.
2. Find Your Voice:
Share Your Story: Write a blog post (You can share it on our website), talk to local media, or participate in awareness campaigns. Sharing your personal experience can spark empathy and inspire action.
Contact Your Local, State, and Federal Representatives: Use resources like the American Parkinson Disease Association to find contact information and advocacy templates. Email, call, or even schedule in-person meetings to voice your concerns and ask for support for Parkinson's research and legislation.
Join Online Communities: Participate in online forums and social media groups to connect with other YOPD advocates, share tips, and organize collective action.
3. Take Action:
Organize a Local Event:
Host a Parkinson's Awareness Walk/Run: Gather your community for a fun and impactful event. Partner with local businesses, schools, or fitness groups for sponsorship and participation. (Or simply show up to local events - your attendance means a lot to the organizers.)
Organize a Fundraising Gala or Auction: Celebrate while raising vital funds. Donate proceeds to reputable Parkinson's organizations or specific research initiatives.
Hold a "Shake-Off" Dance Party: Combine awareness with movement, a key element in managing YOPD. Invite local dance instructors to lead sessions and encourage donations.
Volunteer Your Skills:
Contribute to Online Advocacy Efforts: Volunteer to share your story with YOPN and we can include it in our newsletter, on our blog, and on social media sites, as well as in our outreach efforts to advocate on your behalf.
Volunteer to lead LIVE events: YOPN Live was launched this year. Volunteer to be a leader in your community and bring together like-minded YOPD individuals, care partners, friends, and healthcare professionals. Live events are designed to bring the virtual community together.
Mentor YOPD Newcomers: Share your experience and offer support to newly diagnosed individuals and their families.
Join Online Advocacy Groups: Connect with other passionate advocates on Facebook, Twitter, or online forums. Share information, organize virtual events, and collectively lobby for change.
Challenge Your Network: Encourage friends and family to donate to Parkinson's charities, participate in events, or contact their representatives about YOPD legislation.
Partner with Other Organizations:
Reach out to local Parkinson's support groups or chapters: Offer to co-host events, share resources, or collaborate on advocacy initiatives.
Connect with universities or research institutions: Advocate for increased research funding and participation in clinical trials in your area.
Partner with businesses or community organizations: Explore sponsorship opportunities or joint fundraising efforts to amplify your impact.
Remember: No action is too small! By creatively engaging your community, utilizing your skills, and leveraging the power of online platforms, you can become a powerful force for change in the fight against Parkinson's. Together, we can raise awareness, drive research progress, and advocate for a brighter future for all YOPD patients.
Let's join forces and fight for a cure!