History of Indiana Parkinson Foundation

Indiana Parkinson Foundation (IPF) was formed in 2009, after a family received a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease. The man behind this diagnosis was Don Waterman, a farmer from Hamilton County, IN, a man in his early 50’s, and a man very loved and treasured by his family. The diagnosis of Parkinson’s left many questions and much confusion, feelings of fear and denial. But, after time, something emerged, and it was the desire to do “something”. What that “something” was supposed to be, was the question. It was determined that a foundation should be formed. Although the family members had no knowledge or expertise in this area, they found hope in knowing that they were being led forward by the Lord in their efforts. A song by John Waller was the inspiration behind the grassroots of the Indiana Parkinson Foundation.

“I wanna see something I’ve not seen.
Something so big, I wanna be a part of something great, greater than me
It’s time to dream big dreams.
To see Your vision become reality.
‘Cause it’s for You, by You,
those who love You wanna do something so big it’s destined to fail without You, Lord.
It’s gonna fail without You, Lord.
Something so great it takes a miracle to do.
We, Your children wanna do something big for You.”

When IPF began, its mission was to provide funding for adult stem cell research, which was done through the Cell Therapy Foundation in Indianapolis. Over time, it became apparent that IPF was to change its focus from funding research to helping those who are in the trenches “right now” with the disease. Some of the board members were attending the Parkinson’s Symposium in Indianapolis. David Zid was the keynote speaker at the symposium. He spoke about exercise and the benefits that it can have on the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. A seed was planted that day in September 2010 that quickly grew into the CLIMB, an exercise program for people with Parkinson’s. Through the knowledge and expertise of Joy Gordon (physical therapy), Andy Durnell (personal trainer), and Don Schaefer (IPF board member and CLIMB advocate), IPF has developed the CLIMB. The CLIMB, first held in the Children’s Programming area of White River Christian Church, has grown and changed in many ways. What began as a few volunteers, a few class members, and a little bit of equipment moved in and out every Saturday, looks very different now. More weekly CLIMB classes were soon offered at the Noblesville Athletic Club. And soon after that, Community Health Network offered IPF the use of a large space to house a fully-functioning gym, full of class members, programming, equipment, and life! The CLIMB in 2014 is a very different place than it was in 2011. IPF has been graciously blessed by White River Christian Church, Noblesville Athletic Club, Community Health Network, and many others. The song that inspired the formation of IPF had become the story of IPF.

The CLIMB was built on a combination of physical therapy, aerobic exercise, and boxing. The program has grown to now offer BIG Movement, Postural Therapy and Balance, Yoga, Egoscue, Massage Therapy, Speech Therapy, and Weight Training. Not only does the CLIMB offer many services led by experienced trainers, it is also a safe haven of support and encouragement for people with Parkinson’s and their families.

People are being changed at the CLIMB — mentally, physically, and spiritually. What began as a small and humble endeavor, in honor of one man, has grown and continues to grow — only by the grace and guidance of the Lord — into a community resource for many, offering strength and hope.

Upcoming Special Events

2025 Choose to Move Race April 26, 2025

Help us help Hoosiers with Parkinson's today!

Location: Fishers, IN
1 mile, 5K, 10K, Half Marathon

Get Registered!

Parkinson’s Exercise Videos


The Indiana Parkinson Foundation is committed to giving people with Parkinson's disease their lives back through active engagement in The CLIMB.