2021 Parkinson’s Nebraska Supported Programs

January 8, 2021

We are so proud to support these programs and providers (and more!) that are impacting their communities across Nebraska. These exercise classes, support groups, educational, and recreational programs help people with Parkinson’s improve quality of life and connect with others.

Live IT Up!– Tuesdays and Fridays via Zoom

Fitness and Beyond, L.L.C.– Omaha, NE/Virtual classes

Strength and Balance- Monday & Wednesday virtual & in-person

Alignment, Breathing, & Control- Tues & Thursday virtual & in-person

Parkinson’s Nebraska Support Group– 2nd Saturday of every month at 2:30 pm via Zoom

Parkinson’s Nebraska and PDWELL Education Series– 4th Wednesday of every month via Zoom. Time varies.

Parkinson’s Nebraska Community Outreach Program– Coming to two communities in 2021!

Art, Music, and Dance Program– Coming August 2021. More details to come!

PDWELL: A Parkinson’s Therapy, Wellness, and Resource Center– Waterloo, NE/Virtual exercise, support, and educational programs

Norm Waitt YMCA– S. Sioux City, NE

Delay the Disease- Mondays and Wednesdays 11 am- 12 pm CST

Parkinson’s Support Group- 2nd Monday of the month at 12:15 pm

Norfolk Family YMCA– Norfolk, NE

Dance for Parkinson’s- Program coming soon!

Support Group- Program coming soon!

Grand Island YMCA– Grand Island, NE

Rock Steady Boxing– Monday & Friday 10:30-11:45 am CST, Wednesday 11:00 am- 12:00 pm CST

Ruth Davidson Hahn & Company– Lincoln, NE/Virtual classes

Dance for Parkinson’s– Mondays at 1:30 pm CST via Zoom- Winter session (February 1st– April 5th)

Are you a program director, activities director at a living facility, professional, or community member interested in starting or growing a Parkinson’s program? Let us help you! We have grant funding available and are looking for programs to support. Learn more about grant opportunities here or email Amber Winter at amber@parkinsonsnebraska.org.

Why Not Me?

January 8, 2021

I would venture to say that nearly everyone with Parkinson’s has asked themselves the question, “Why Me?”

When I think about this, I find myself just as quickly asking the opposing question, “Why Not Me?”

Approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with PD each year. More than 10 million people are living with PD worldwide. Am I really any different than everyone else?

However it’s asked, the question is self-defeating. This way of thinking fuels envy, resentment, and self-pity. When I find myself heading toward this pity party, I recall the first line of the Serenity Prayer, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.”

I have had other significant and painful experiences in my life, which I also came to realize weren’t just me. In all instances, it’s not just me. It’s not just you. It’s just life.

As a good friend reminds me, “Dave, This Ain’t Heaven.”

I’m not saying that these experiences aren’t difficult. That they aren’t mentally and emotionally and physically taxing. Rather that life brings pain and suffering, joy and love, it brings all that it is to me and to you, to the next person, and all those to follow.

For me, this provides comfort knowing that I’m not alone. That I’m not singled out or just unlucky. That I’m not to blame. I’m simply experiencing life. This keeps me balanced, humbled and calmer in the face of challenges. It enables me to move ahead in a more empowered way.

And to say to life, “Why not me?”

Program Grant Applications are Open!

January 7, 2021

In 2020, we awarded Parkinson’s programs across Nebraska with grants to help keep classes and services accessible throughout the year, and even expand services offered. We helped provide programs with equipment, supplies, technology, tech support, professional development opportunities, and more! Click here to learn more about the types of programs that we support.

This year, we have more than $41,000 in grant funding available for Parkinson’s programs, services, and trainings! Our grants support impactful programs by providing funding for the following program costs:

  • Equipment & Supplies (exercise equipment, chairs, art supplies, etc.)
  • Technology (telehealth equipment, subscriptions, peripherals like headphones, tech support)
  • Admin costs (marketing, printing, insurance, instructor costs, etc.)
  • Professional Development (Parkinson’s-specific trainings for therapy providers, exercise instructors, support group leaders, and other service providers)

Focus Areas

  • Rural communities outside of Omaha metro (but this does not mean Omaha programs cannot apply!)
  • New programs (we are always looking to help new programs develop)
  • Expanding programs (we are always looking to grow expand programs to reach more people)
  • Programs seeking to make or keep services accessible (virtual format, direct mail programs, etc.)

We are taking applications on a continuous basis and they are reviewed the Board of Directors each month. We are always looking for opportunities to partner with providers, programs, and communities who seek to make an impact in the lives of people with Parkinson’s.

If you are interested in applying for funding in 2021, please email Amber Winter at amber@parkinsonsnebraska.org or call 402-715-4707. We would love to talk with you!

Joyce Starr- Care Partner

December 4, 2020

We are so grateful for care partner advocates like Joyce Starr in Lincoln. 

Joyce’s husband, Rich, has been living with Parkinson’s disease for 7 years. When he was first diagnosed, they were apprehensive to join a support group. But once they did, Joyce found comfort in meeting with and learning from others going through similar experiences. She is now one of the leaders of the Lincoln Parkinson’s Disease Support Group!  

She is a strong advocate for the Parkinson’s community and for care partners. She is a member of the Nebraska Community Action Committee and has participated in trainings and numerous educational programs. Joyce believes education is key to living well with Parkinson’s, for both the individual and the care partner. Since Rich’s diagnosis, they have both sought out opportunities to learn more about the disease and the resources that are available to them. 

Joyce views her role as a care partner rather than caregiver, because Parkinson’s disease affects the whole family and at this stage, her and Rich are partners in navigating life with the PD. Through education, community engagement, and support from others, she has been able to continuously learn and find hope in caring for someone with Parkinson’s disease.  

In October, she attended the In Sync Support Group Leader Workshop to learn how to lead and manage a support group. She has recently started a virtual Caregiver Support Group that will take place on Zoom on the second Tuesday of each month. Thank you, Joyce, for caring with intent and being a leader for other care partners in Nebraska. We are so grateful for you!

Donate to the Give with Intent campaign to help provide care partners like Joyce with resources and education to empower their journey caring for a loved one with Parkinson’s.


Lincoln Caregiver Support Group
Online via Zoom
2nd Tuesday of every month- Contact for time
Joyce Starr
402-489-5341
rstarrlinc@neb.rr.com

Norm Waitt Sr. YMCA

December 4, 2020

We are so grateful for partners like the Norm Waitt Sr. YMCA in S. Sioux City, NE.  

Jacque Perez, the Senior Program Director, became certified in the Delay the Disease Parkinson’s exercise program nine years ago. Since then, she has been serving people with Parkinson’s in S. Sioux City and surrounding areas. With a lack of other exercise services in the area, the YMCA Delay the Disease program has played an important role in keeping the community active and moving.  

In July 2019, Dawn Welch from the Norm Waitt Sr. YMCA attended the  Parkinson’s Nebraska-sponsored Delay the Disease training to become a certified instructor.  She has since helped improve and grow the program, using her skills as a social work and group exercise instructor.  

In 2021, the program is going to grow even more. Parkinson’s Nebraska is proud to award the Norm Waitt Sr. YMCA with a grant to begin a new support group in S. Sioux City! The grant will provide funding for the support group facilitators, supplies, marketing, and creating & distributing monthly educational resources from January- December 2021.  

Starting in January, the support group will meet on the second Monday of each month from 12:15-1:15 pm. The monthly meeting intentionally  follows a Delay the Disease class, to increase both participation and engagement of the group members. At each group session, they will have a pre-planned topic or theme to facilitate as well as educational handouts for the participants.  

Thank you so much to Jacque, Dawn, and the Norm Waitt Sr. YMCA for all they do to empower people with Parkinson’s to live well & strengthen the S. Sioux City PD community. We couldn’t make an impact without such dedicated professionals and we are so grateful they are on this journey with us! Learn more about the Norm Waitt Sr YMCA at http://nwsymca.org/.

Donate to the Give with Intent campaign to support programs like Delay the Disease and new support group at the Norm Waitt Sr. YMCA, and expand services to other communities across Nebraska.


Delay the Disease
Norm Waitt Sr. YMCA
601 Riverview Dr.
South Sioux City, NE 68776
Mondays and Wednesday 11:00 am- 12:00 pm
Jacque Perez
jperez@nwsymca.org

Parkinson’s Disease Support Group- starting January 11th!
Norm Waitt Sr. YMCA
601 Riverview Dr.
South Sioux City, NE 68776
12:15 pm- 1:15 pm
Second Monday of each month
Jacque Perez
402-404-8439
jperez@nwsymca.org

Alliance Support Group

December 4, 2020

As we expand our reach to Western Nebraska, we are grateful for support group facilitators like Dee Brauninger. 

Dee’s husband lived with Parkinson’s for 12 years. They were living in Washington State when he was diagnosed and they joined a support group. There, they experienced the benefits of belonging to a group. When they moved back to Alliance, NE they found that there was not a support group anywhere near them.  

So Dee started one! She began the first Parkinson’s support group in the Alliance area and has been facilitating ever since. Now, the group serves Western Nebraska, with Zoom allowing many more people to attend the meetings.  She encourages the group members to learn as much as they can about the disease to empower themselves and helps them connect to PD community by sharing resources and learning opportunities.

In October, she attended the In Sync Support Group Leader Workshop to learn about effective support group leadership and management skills. She is truly committed to the Parkinson’s community and connecting Western Nebraska with specialized resources.

Your donation to the Give with Intent campaign during the month of December will support facilitators like Dee by providing training opportunities and connecting her to local, statewide, and national resources to strengthen the Alliance Parkinson’s community.

Donate today to help support facilitators like Dee and others all across Nebraska!

Alliance Parkinson’s Support Group
Online via Zoom
1st Tuesday of every month- 7:00 am MT
Dee Brauninger
308-763-1254
brauninger@bbc.net

Tai Chi
Online via Zoom
Mondays 9:30 am MT
Dee Brauninger
308-763-1254
brauninger@bbc.net

Box Butte General Hospital
2101 Box Butte Ave
Alliance, NE 69301
308-762-6660
Physical, Occupational, Speech
Offers LSVT BIG®, SPEAK OUT! ®, LOUD Crowd

Community Outreach Program- Norfolk Update

December 3, 2020

The Community Outreach Program was created in response to the need for more meaningful outreach and engagement with communities outside of the Omaha metro area. The purpose of the program is to actively engage with communities in a way that promotes community-building, expands programming based on local needs, and empowers local leaders to create lasting change. Centered around creating meaningful relationships, the Community Outreach Program focuses on strengthening each community by connecting people with Parkinson’s to each other, to local resources and leaders, and to the statewide and national Parkinson’s network.

Over the summer, the pilot program was rolled out in Norfolk, NE. Norfolk was chosen because of its similarities to Omaha such as well-attended exercise classes, a support group, PD-specific therapy, and it serves the surrounding communities. It was also chosen because it is a relatively short distance from Omaha and an in-person event was planned before Covid-19.

At the start of the program, a community needs assessment was conducted to take an inventory of specialized Parkinson’s services and gain feedback from providers serving the Norfolk area. In September, the first Norfolk Leaders Discussion was held via Zoom to share the results of the assessment, share best practices and current statuses, our Community Advocacy Model and to connect the community leaders to each other & to resources.

We were joined by several local professionals including physical therapists, occupational therapists, and exercise professionals from Faith Regional Health Services, the Norfolk Family YMCA, Family Physical Therapy and Fountain Point Medical Community who are committed to strengthening the Norfolk PD community. The group had an open and engaging conversation about the current services provided, great ideas for future programs, and identified the next steps to take.

As part of the Community Outreach Program, the Norfolk community received $500 in grant funding to support a Parkinson’s wellness program. The group will be using the funding to start a new evening support group at the Norfolk Family YMCA! They will begin meeting in January, immediately follow the Rock Steady Boxing class. Please contact Tina Collison at the Norfolk Family YMCA at 402-371-9770 or getfit@norfolkymca.org for more information.

We are grateful for the outcome of the pilot program in Norfolk, and for the dedicated providers who made it a success. It is so exciting to see communities grow and expand Parkinson’s services, making them more accessible across the state. We are looking forward to help strengthen more Parkinson’s communities in 2021!


Parkinson’s Disease Support Group- Starting in January!
Norfolk Family YMCA
301 Benjamin Ave
Norfolk, NE 68701
Stay tuned for day and time info
Tina Collison
402-404-8439
getfit@norfolkymca.org

The Gift of Parkinson’s

December 3, 2020

Dave Ciaccio, Parkinson’s Nebraska Board Chair

In this season of gift giving, I thought it might be good to spend a little time reflecting on my diagnosis and how it might actually be reframed as a ‘gift’ in my life.

My first thought was that surely these two concepts couldn’t go together.  Parkinson’s? A gift? It had to be an oxymoron. But as I jot down the opportunities that Parkinson’s has given me, I see just how big of a gift it actually is.

We receive gifts in all episodes of life whether we realize it or not. We receive gifts every day that we are alive.

The same is true of living with Parkinson’s. Yes, this too presents us with many new opportunities in life if we would only dig a little deeper to find them. Here are a few that I found:

  • How concerned & caring family & friends can be
  • A strengthened spiritual life requiring me to trust in God
  • Dependency on others resulting in greater humility
  • Peace of mind knowing I am doing all I can in the daily fight
  • Admiration for the strength and fortitude of those in the struggle with me
  • New friends who support & encourage me
  • Amazement at the wisdom of my doctors & therapists
  • Improved physical conditioning and completing a mini-marathon
  • Opportunities to help others on their journey to live with optimism

Optimism is a choice in our journey with Parkinson’s. It’s not an easy choice, but one all the same. Determination to not let this disease defeat us or determine who we are is essential. I understand now that I need to not only live with the diagnosis, but to thrive despite it.

Dr. Viktor Frankl was a prisoner in German concentration camps during WWII. His mother, father, brother and pregnant wife were all killed in the camps. He lost everything, he said, that could be taken from a prisoner, except one thing. “The last of the human freedoms, to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

I hope you will choose to see the gifts all around you this season. Wishing you peace and a Merry Christmas!

Norm Waitt Sr. YMCA Support Group Grant

December 3, 2020

Congratulations to the Norm Waitt Sr. YMCA!

Parkinson’s Nebraska is proud to award the Norm Waitt Sr. YMCA with a program grant! The grant will provide a facilitator fee, marketing costs, program material costs, and refreshments for a new Parkinson’s support group in S. Sioux City, NE.   

At each monthly session, the group will have pre-planned topics such as stress management, community resources, coping strategies, communication, and more. Participants will be provided with hand-outs and other resources to take home with them. It will be offered immediately after the Delay the Disease class to make it easy for class participants to join the group.

The support group will be led by Dawn Welsh, MSW. Dawn attended the Parkinson’s Nebraska Delay the Disease training in 2019 and has become an integral part of the S. Sioux City PD community. She has experience leading groups in her role as a social worker and will bring much passion and knowledge to the facilitator role.

We are so grateful to have leaders like Jacque and Dawn in the Parkinson’s community. They are committed to strengthening the S. Sioux City PD community and making education and support accessible. We could not make an impact without them!

Learn more about the Norm Waitt Sr. YMCA and how to get involved at http://nwsymca.org/.

Delay the Disease
Norm Waitt Sr. YMCA
601 Riverview Dr.
South Sioux City, NE 68776
Mondays and Wednesday
11:00 am- 12:00 pm
Jacque Perez
402-404-8439
jperez@nwsymca.org

Parkinson’s Disease Support Group- Starting January 11th!
Norm Waitt Sr. YMCA
601 Riverview Dr.
South Sioux City, NE 68776
2nd Monday of the month
12:15 pm
Jacque Perez
402-404-8439
jperez@nwsymca.org

PDWELL Equipment and Technical Support Grant

November 30, 2020

Congratulations to the PDWELL: A Therapy, Wellness, and Resource Center!

Parkinson’s Nebraska is proud to award the PDWELL with a program grant! The grant will provide new equipment and technical support to the PDWELL online Parkinson’s programs. The equipment, including a sound mixer, wireless headphones/microphones, and more, will increase the quality of live and recorded online exercise and speech programs.

Earlier this year, Parkinson’s Nebraska provided PDWELL with a grant for equipment and technical assistance for a pilot online support group program. Just weeks after the grant announcement, Covid-19 caused programs to close their doors to in-person classes. Little did we know how impactful the technology equipment would become as programs were transitioned online!

Now that online programming is the “new norm” and will be here to stay, we are excited to provide PDWELL with additional equipment to continue providing and improving critical online services. Special microphones and headphones will help eliminate background noise and integrate music during movement classes. They also allow for higher voice quality for the teacher, including their tone and volume level, which benefits speech classes.

Thank you so much to Cheri and the team at PDWELL for working so quickly to transition programs online so people with Parkinson’s still had access to the services they need from home. We are grateful to call PDWELL a partner on our journey!


PDWELL is a leader in online programming in Nebraska. They offer a variety of virtual Parkinson’s programs such as:

  • Boxing
  • Dance for PD
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • PWR!
  • Strengthening and Combo classes
  • Caregiver Forum
  • Weekly support groups
  • Education
  • Much more!

They are also the host of the Parkinson’s Nebraska-sponsored Live IT Up! program.

Learn more about PDWELL at https://pdwell.com/.