In 2008, a Hamilton County farmer, Don Waterman, received the news of his diagnosis with Parkinson’s Disease. As his family rallied around him in prayer and support, they quickly felt a calling from God to do something; and that something resulted in the formation of the Indiana Parkinson Foundation (IPF). In February 2009, IPF became an official 501(c)3 organization, and the journey began. You will soon see that, through this journey, God continues to show up and open and shut doors along the way.
At first, IPF’s mission and goal was to raise funds to support life-respecting stem cell research to go towards a cure for Parkinson’s. The family knew very little about Parkinson’s, however, we knew that there was no cure and IPF was focused on helping find one. IPF started their fundraising efforts selling strawberry shortcakes at our local county fair and other similar events. Through these events, IPF was able to build awareness of Parkinson’s Disease and IPF.
IPF partnered with Cell Therapy Foundation in Indianapolis to support Parkinson’s research using adult stem cells. IPF was able to find a donor to match our donation to further the research project. Even though the efforts of all of fundraising to put towards Parkinson’s research was a great cause, IPF quickly realized that God had a different mission in mind for the organization.
IPF felt the need to help people with Parkinson’s and the quality of their everyday life. At the time, Don Waterman had been benefiting from physical therapy by a family friend, Joy Gordon, a University of Indy PT student. IPF saw the difference this was making and after the generosity of many individuals, we were able to start an exercise program called the CLIMB in 2011. The CLIMB name was derived from a song whose lyrics spoke to the meaning of this program. Here is the chorus of the song:
There’s always gonna be another mountain I’m always gonna wanna make it move Always gonna be an uphill battle Sometimes you’re gonna have to lose Ain’t about how fast I get there Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side It’s the climb
This program was focused on helping the individual function at their best through exercises focused on balance, gait, stretching and coordination.
CLIMB members wanted more class offerings, so IPF quickly pivoted to expanding our classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Noblesville Athletic Club.
During this time, the word was getting out about IPF’s CLIMB program in different areas of the state. IPF saw the need and created a licensee program so other areas could provide CLIMB to their community. Our first CLIMB licensee location was Greenwood, IN and they continue to provide excellent programs for their members. This is a picture of our Greenwood CLIMB. IPF currently supports 9 CLIMB locations.
Shortly after this class expansion, IPF found a semi-permanent home at a Community Health Network building in Noblesville, IN. At that point, the CLIMB was offering programs and services Monday – Saturday. IPF was very grateful for our time at Community and the generosity shown to us during that time. We currently have transitioned to LivRite Fitness in Fishers, IN and offer classes Monday – Friday.
In 2013, IPF created the Choose to Move Race to Beat Parkinson’s Disease event. This event allowed for family to rally around their loved one with Parkinson’s Disease, show support and raise awareness. Choose to Move has become a huge part of IPF and their fundraising efforts to support the programs and services provided.
The new Indiana Parkinson Foundation logo truly encompasses what we are striving to achieve every day. With each peak representing a pillar of IPF: exercise, support systems/resources and education, each pillar equally important, provides a complete holistic approach to coming alongside our PWPs and their caretakers. Parkinson’s Disease is an uphill battle, but together we can overcome challenges. At IPF we choose to move, never giving up because the CLIMB is worth it, especially when together we are moving mountains.
“Truly, I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their hearts but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.” Mark 11:23
As the Indiana Parkinson Foundation continues this journey of coming along side those with Parkinson’s Disease, we give God the glory for where we have been and what is up ahead.