Support group in A.L. is growing

Published 11:43 am Saturday, June 25, 2011

First of all I want to thank the Albert Lea Tribune for the coverage you have given to our Parkinson’s support group. This newly-formed group had our first official meeting in January of 2011. Those 3 or 4 of us who spoke together about the need for a support group had thought about and spoken about this need for probably 10 years or more.

So, the decision was made to find a location and let the public know that we were offering a place to gather.

The response was overwhelming. The people who came, not knowing one another, were so very open in sharing their experiences as well as offering supportive ideas.  The range of diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease varied from 28 years to a couple of months. Parkinson’s disease medical care varied from primary care doctors, Veterans Administration, Mayo Clinic Health System in Rochester, Struthers in the Twin Cities and more. Medications varied as well.

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Many of you read about our May 24 meeting with more than 70 people in attendance. We thank the Tribune for the wonderful coverage you gave that program.

We began our group in our naivete with mostly just good intentions. We now realize how great the need is, and we are finding we need to be organized and have structure to our group.

We have established an advisory board as follows: Maureen Ruble, chairwoman, Anne Troska, vice chairwoman; Marlene Klukow, secretary/program coordinator with Helen Knapp; David Hernes, treasurer; Colleen Nelson, phone coordinator; Marlene and Lowell Klukow, Troska and Earl Thompson will make up the arrangements team.

Another challenge we did not consider in our naivete is the need for financial funding. Although we do not anticipate any major expenses, we do have some publicity expense. As you know mailings (copies, postage, etc.) are expensive. If there are service groups or individuals who would care to fund these efforts we would certainly appreciate any financial assistance.

Our monthly meetings are on the fourth Tuesday of each month. Our next meeting is next on June 28. We meet at the Senior Center at 9:30 a.m. with coffee and a treat, a short informational/educational program and plenty of time for conversation.

Thank you to the community for the interest and encouragement you have shown many of us in regard to this support group. We welcome suggestions, and encourage you to encourage any whom you may feel need the support we have to share.

Any of the above advisory board will be happy to answer questions to the best of their knowledge. Ruble can be reached at 507-373-1808, and Troska can be reached at 507-874-3367.

Maureen Ruble

Albert Lea