Framing Off Through Art

"There's nothing better than collaboration to get answers you're looking for" - Steve DeWitte, living with Parkinson’s since 2005

STRENGTH

STRENGTH
Jennifer Parkinson

Jennifer Parkinson

STRENGTH

Jennifer first noticed her tremor after the birth of her second child, but doctors told her the vague symptoms and fatigue stemmed from life with young kids. She was struggling to move her limbs when, in 2005, a neurologist diagnosed her with Parkinson’s. Jennifer, then 32, felt conflicted: relieved to finally have a diagnosis, but also scared.

About five years after her diagnosis, Jennifer began to experience OFF periods, the re-emergence of motor and non-motor symptoms — that prohibited her from moving and speaking, making it difficult for her to keep up at work and at home.

In 2009, she was introduced to boxing and began working with a trainer to help alleviate her fatigue and rigidity. Pushing through the extremely tough classes helped her both mentally and physically. It also inspired her to co-found Neuroboxing, a nonprofit that helps people with Parkinson’s and their families fight Parkinson’s in the ring and through wellness programs.

The artwork created by Anita depicts Jennifer’s fight to live well with OFF periods through the strength of the woman juxtaposed with the confinement of the limbs. Jennifer often feels “stuck in place” and experiences rigidity while boxing and fights (figuratively and literally) through the OFF periods to live well. The roots illustrate her growth, including Jennifer’s personal growth through her journey with Parkinson’s – growth that has enabled her to talk more openly about her journey and empowered her to communicate more frequently and candidly with her healthcare team. The image embodies the reality that not all OFF symptoms – specifically non-motor symptoms – can be seen.

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Perspectives

Jennifer Parkinson

Jennifer Parkinson is president and co-founder of Neuroboxing and StrongHer Women Fighting Parkinson’s and has been living with young-onset Parkinson’s for 13 years. Jennifer, a single mother of two, fights back through boxing and helps support women with Parkinson’s as a speaker and panelist for the Michael J. Fox Foundation, a participant in multiple Parkinson’s Foundation Moving Day Walks and a Women in PD advocate.

Jennifer Parkinson is president and co-founder of Neuroboxing and StrongHer Women Fighting Parkinson’s and has been living with young-onset Parkinson’s for 13 years. Jennifer, a single mother of two, fights back through boxing and helps support women with Parkinson’s as a speaker and panelist for the Michael J. Fox Foundation, a participant in multiple Parkinson’s Foundation Moving Day Walks and a Women in PD advocate.

In March 2018, Jennifer took on a new role as president of the NeuroCommunity Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting research, providing educational resources and promoting awareness for those with Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, stroke and traumatic brain injury. In 2015, she joined the “10 Mountains 10 Years” project, whose mission is to raise worldwide awareness for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, and climbed Mt. Etna in Italy. Jennifer later became a U.S. ambassador for “10 Mountains 10 Years,” and went on to become the documentary narration coordinator.

Jennifer Parkinson

Dr. Leonard Verhagen Metman, M.D.

Leonard Verhagen Metman, M.D., Ph.D., is a board-certified neurologist, an Associate Professor at Rush Medical College, and the Medical Director of the Neurosurgery Program for Movement Disorders, at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois. He specializes in the medical and surgical management of people with Parkinson’s and other Movement Disorders such as essential tremor and dystonia.

Leonard Verhagen Metman, M.D., Ph.D., is a board-certified neurologist, an Associate Professor at Rush Medical College, and the Medical Director of the Neurosurgery Program for Movement Disorders at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois. He specializes in the medical and surgical management of people with Parkinson’s and other Movement Disorders such as essential tremor and dystonia. Dr. Verhagen Metman earned his medical and doctorate degrees from the University of Leiden in the Netherlands in 1983.

After coming to the United States in 1985 to work in the Division of Artificial Organs at the University of Utah, he decided to pursue his interest in the neurosciences and accepted a fellowship in the Division of Restorative Neurology and Human Neurobiology at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas. Subsequently, he completed a neurology residency at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. Upon completion in 1992, he accepted a fellowship at the National Institutes of Health in the Experimental Therapeutics Branch of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. After completing this fellowship in 1994, he stayed at the NIH for another five years, first as Visiting Associate, later as Visiting Scientist. The Branch’s main focus was on pharmacological studies of motor response complications in Parkinson’s. In 1999, he joined the Movement Disorder Section of the Department of Neurological Sciences at Rush University Medical center, one of the largest movement disorders centers in the United States, to work with his colleagues on treatments for Parkinson’s and other movement disorders through clinical research.

Dr. Leonard Verhagen Metman, M.D.

Anita Kunz

Anita is a Canadian-born artist and illustrator whose clientele has included TIME Magazine, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, GQ, The New York Times, Sony Music, Random House Publishing and many others. Anita’s friend and fellow artist was diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

Anita is a Canadian-born artist and illustrator whose clientele has included TIME Magazine, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, GQ, The New York Times, Sony Music, Random House Publishing and many others. Anita’s friend and fellow artist was diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

Anita has been honored with many prestigious awards and medals and her critically acclaimed paintings and sculptures have appeared in galleries worldwide, including the Norman Rockwell Museum in Massachusetts and the Teatrio Cultural Association in Rome. Her works are also in the permanent collections at the Library of Congress, the Canadian Archives in Ottawa and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome. A number of Anita’s Time Magazine cover paintings are in the permanent collection at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Anita Kunz

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