State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) recently hosted advocates from the Merrimack Valley and across the Commonwealth at the State House for the fourth annual meeting of the state legislature’s Parkinson’s Disease Caucus.
DiZoglio serves as chair of the caucus and provided legislators an opportunity to learn more about Parkinson’s and consider legislative steps to address the neurological disease, which affects an estimated one million Americans and is the 14th leading cause of death in the United States. It is estimated that 60,000 people are diagnosed each year in the U.S. with Parkinson’s and its prevalence is expected to more than double by the year 2040. The exact cause of the disease, which is chronic and progressive, with no treatment to slow or halt its progression, remains unknown.
Joining the Representative for the caucus meeting were the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and the Massachusetts chapter of the American Parkinson’s Disease Association (APDA).
During the caucus, DiZoglio presented a resolution, co-sponsored by 46 other legislators from across the Commonwealth, proclaiming April as Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month in Massachusetts.
DiZoglio officially created and launched the Parkinson’s Disease Caucus in November 2015.
“What began as a State House proclamation a few years ago declaring April as Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month has turned into an annual event that legislators have taken a real interest in,” said Charles Brown, North Andover resident and Public Policy and Advocacy Volunteer with the Michael J. Fox Foundation. “There are several bills in the making that will benefit the Parkinson’s community in Massachusetts, as we pave the way for other states to follow. I am proud to be a part of this event and the relationships I have formed with Representative DiZoglio and her aide Andrew Carden. We will find a cure – until then, we are a community.”
“An event like this is important because it raises awareness for Massachusetts legislators and citizens,” said Dan Harvey, board member of the APDA Massachusetts Chapter. “We are very fortunate in Massachusetts that there are excellent movement disorders clinics and hospitals, many support services and major investments of research being done. But we can do more, meeting with our state and federal legislators, developing relationships, working together.”
“Greater research, education and community support services are necessary to find more effective treatments and to provide access to quality care to those with Parkinson’s Disease,” said DiZoglio. “I am honored to serve as chair of this caucus and committed to continue raising awareness about the disease with citizens from the Merrimack Valley and across the Commonwealth.”
“I was proud to join this event, support Rep. DiZoglio’s important effort and read the Senate resolution, as we continue to spread awareness about this disease,” said State Senator Barbara L’Italien (D-Andover), who presented a resolution from the State Senate, recognizing April as Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month.