Shaking Things Up - a Column by Mary Beth Skylis

Mary Beth is a freelance writer specializing in personal narratives. Her work focuses on the outdoors and the transformative powers of nature. When her dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2013, her search to understand the disease materialized through language. She now writes to help others understand the disease and how to be a compassionate caregiver.

How to Stay Engaged After Parkinson’s Awareness Month

Every year in April, Parkinson’s Awareness Month comes and goes, and I find myself wondering if anything has changed. Did the temporary boost of attention spark change in the medical community? Did fundraising efforts make a difference in our pursuit to end this disease? How might we maintain our…

Our Capabilities Define Us, Not Our Limitations

Over the years, I’ve found myself attracted to writing stories about the underdog. I love learning about people who come up against seemingly insurmountable odds, only to overcome them through sheer grit, ingenuity, and determination. In 2015, my first published article was about a woman who fell 45 feet…

A New Parkinson’s Exercise Class Opens Near My Dad

“Mary Beth, I’ll be starting a new Parkinson’s exercise class this week,” my dad told me early one morning. Before COVID-19 hit, Dad was religiously taking Rock Steady Boxing (RSB) classes at a local facility. But the pandemic forced that particular location to close permanently, leaving my dad…

Panic Sets In as My Parents Test for COVID-19

“How’s your 2022 so far?” I text my dad a few days into January. “Not so good,” his message lights up my phone. “I think I have COVID.” At first, I think he’s joking. He’s always finding ways to look on the bright side of life, and sometimes doing so…

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