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September 20, 2010

Parkinson's disease quilt raises global awareness

Global-quilt project focuses on Parkinson's awareness

PLATTSBURGH — Kate Del Signore has a floral motif at the center of her Parkinson's disease quilt block.

Explaining why she created the block, she writes: "Joining with other people with Parkinson's has encouraged me to live well with Parkinson's until we find a cure. I have always loved art of all kinds, and I'm discovering with patience and endurance that I can find new ways to express my hopes for the future!"

Del Signore was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease at age 50. For the last five years, she has been a member of the Plattsburgh Parkinson's Support Group.

On the Parkinson's disease website, Del Signore learned about the foundation's "global-quilt project to focus the world's attention on the nearly 1 million people in the United States and more than 4 million worldwide living with Parkinson's disease (PD)," writes Del Signore. "The project aims to raise awareness of the impact that the disease has on people living with Parkinson's — along with their families, caregivers and friends — and our continued urgency to find a cure."

She broached the subject with her Support Group members, and they decided to participate in the project.

"It has been quite a process," Del Signore said.

LOFTY GOAL

They set a goal to make 16 panels to represent North Country Parkinson's disease patients and their families. Overall, the quilt has more than 2,000 panels. Each panel is 2 feet by 2 feet, sewn together in 8-foot sections. Those panels, too many to be sewn into a single quilt, will be hung from Sept. 28 through Oct. 1 at the second World Parkinson Congress in Glasgow, Scotland.

"We were lucky enough to partner up with the Champlain Valley Quilter's Guild of New York, who helped us to complete many of the 16 panels needed for the Parkinson's Disease Foundation's quilt project," writes Del Signore. "Many generous supporters contributed over $400 for the project's registration costs. The Quilt Guild is renowned for its creativity and generosity in donating many quilts each month to local causes, and we are so grateful for their support."

"Susan Minnie, the community-outreach person for the Quilter's Guild, is hoping we will be able to get it up for display at our next quilt show," said Judy Russell, who also has Parkinson's and participated in the project.

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