More than 500 patients and caregivers learned about the latest trends in managing Parkinson’s symptoms and improving quality of life.

After falling down the stairs with his infant son in his arms, Jimmy Choi realized that after seven years of denial it was time to seek medical help and take control of his Parkinson’s diagnosis.

“When I got my diagnosis, there was a lot of disbelief and I didn’t really understand what the disease was,” said Choi, who is now an outspoken Parkinson’s advocate and an American Ninja Warrior. “An event like this is very important for people not only to gather information but to meet others that are just like them.”

More than 500 patients and caregivers attended The Brain and Beyond Conference, hosted by Florida Hospital and the Parkinson Association of Central Florida, to learn about the latest trends in managing Parkinson’s symptoms and improving quality of life.

“Part of a person being able to manage the disease is knowledge and understanding what’s available to them,” said Anissa Mitchell, Parkinson’s outreach program manager at Florida Hospital.

Thursday’s conference featured physicians, researchers and motivational speakers such as Choi, who was diagnosed with the disease when he was 27 and at one point needed a cane to walk.

“The biggest thing I do to cope with the disease is exercise,” said Choi. “We need to give our bodies a better chance of performing; if you make your body healthier you are going to feel better.”

Approximately one million people live with Parkinson’s in the country, which means at least 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with the disease each year, according to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation.

During the conference, the Parkinson Association of Central Florida donated $250,000 to Florida Hospital, to develop a movement disorder specialty program to help patients stay ahead of the disease.

“The relationship between Florida Hospital and the Parkinson Association of Central Florida is a major step towards bringing world-class care to the movement disorder to our community. Over 20,000 Parkinson’s patients will now be able to receive care in their own backyard,” states John Gabriel, former General Manager with the Orlando Magic and PACF Board Member.

About the Parkinson Association of Central Florida (PACF)

The Parkinson Association of Central Florida was founded on September 30, 2015, with a mission to improve the quality of life for all people impacted by Parkinson’s disease through research, education, fundraising, and outreach. The Parkinson Association of Central Florida focuses on the geographical territory of a four-county area bringing information and resources to those who need help dealing with Parkinson’s disease. Our annual Walk for Parkinson serves as a platform bringing our local community of 20,000 living with this disease throughout Orange, Seminole, Osceola, and Lake counties as well as the surrounding areas. Contributions from supporters will help PACF fund programs and bring awareness that may well affect change in our understanding of Parkinson’s disease and our hope for its future. For more information please visit, www.parkinsoncf.org. 321-348-PACF(7223).

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