“Reach for It” mobilizes those with Parkinson’s disease

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By Ashley Quintela, Contributor

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder which makes it difficult for those who are affected to walk or engage in normal ranges of movement. According to the National Parkinson Foundation, the disease affects approximately one million people living in the United States. However, the University of Nebraska at Omaha doesn’t let the disease keep its victims down.
The UNO College of Education, The Moving Company and the Nebraska Chapter of the American Parkinson’s Disease Association (APDA) sponsor an annual program for individuals with Parkinson’s.
“Reach for It” is an activity of dance for those with the disease. Classes start Sept. 19 and end Nov. 21. The classes are held on Friday mornings from 10:00 a.m to 11:00 p.m in the Health, Physical Education and Recreation Center on Dodge Campus. Those looking to join must register by Sept. 19, as space is limited.
The class is designed for participants to have fun while working on balance, strength, coordination and flexibility. Taught by instructor Danielle Laurion, participants will dance seated in chairs, standing and across the floor with musical assistance by pianist Esther Wax.
“It sparks creativity,” HPER Professor Josie Metal Corbin said. “It focuses attention on eyes, ears and touch.”
The program has been a popular event since the summer of 2010 when it was founded by the College of Education. The three-week session is $15 and is to be paid at the first class. Each session has around 10 to 12 participants.
“A lot of spouses come and participate,” HPER Office Assistant Katherine Bridgeford said.
To ensure that the event is well-prepared for its many participants, people involved in “Reach for It” have to make sure to spread the word; considerable work goes into setting up the event and informing the public.
“I help a lot with the behind-the-scenes stuff,” Bridgeford said. “I help with posters and flyers and making sure everyone has parking permits.”
Before the program begins, a Parkinson’s Walk is hosted by APDA at Miller’s Landing on the Riverfront. The walk began at 1 p.m and offered activities such as bounce houses, face painting and children games. Flyers containing information about “Reach for It” are presented to those who attend the walk.
From sparking creativity and mobilizing those living with the disease, “Reach For It” gives person’s with Parkinsons a way to be active.

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