202 - Theresa Daly (Administrator of Guelph Wellington Parkinson's Support Group)
April is "Parkinson's Awareness Month", and I will be sharing two new episodes this month aimed to raise awareness about this disease. For this episode, I interview Theresa Daly - the Volunteer Administrator of the "Guelph Wellington Parkinson's Support Group".
Theresa has had a 40+ career in health care, starting as a registered nurse. While working in the "Family Life" area of hospitals, working with new parents, caregivers, and people facing long medical journeys ahead, her nursing practice expanded, and she added a masters degree in Social Work - she recognized the emotional, family, financial, and social impact of illness on people, and that there are a myriad of factors that affect how a person can cope with a long-term diagnosis. She started a private practice devoted to older adults and their families facing medical challenges to help them navigate and increasingly complex healthcare system, and provided public education and consultation for Health Care Professionals.
In 2014, when she tried to retire, she was giving a talk at the local chapter of a Parkinson's Support Group. The group had 14 members at that time, and no professional support, which was when she volunteered to be their Administrator. In the eight years since the group has expanded to 70+ people with Parkinson's and closer to 140 including their caregivers who she also supports. This group caught her spark - it felt like her whole career pointed her towards this work. Theresa has been incredible at walking with people on their journeys with long-term illnesses.
The Guelph Wellington Parkinsons Support Group is part of a network of support, including the national organization Parkinson Canada (parkinson.ca) and the regional Parkinson Society Southwestern Ontario (psso.ca). Every single day in Canada 25 people are diagnosed with Parkinson's.
Theresa does all her work as a volunteer (also volunteering at the Guelph Humane Society, fostering cats and kittens :) ) and she could use our support! Theresa is looking for volunteers to help with this group, including someone to help co-facilitate the group with her - People with skills in hospitality, social work, computer skills and social media skills, someone to learn how to facilitate meetings, and help the members with Parkinson's get in and out of meetings. So if you are interested in supporting, please connect with Theresa at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you so much to Theresa for sharing with us, and for the incredible work you do supporting our community.
This interview was originally recorded on March 11th 2022