“I hope people take away hope and a smile from my blog”

Interviews

Author: Simge Eva DoganPublished: 5 September 2018

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In the ninth in our series profiling the bloggers supporting the World Parkinson Congress 2019, we talk to Debbie Shapiro about why she started a non-profit organisation for the Parkinson’s community in Jerusalem, the challenges of finding time to blog – and why people shouldn’t ignore Parkinson’s


Describe yourself in a sentence.

I am a wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and ‘Master Juggler’.

Is there an aspect of Parkinson’s that you’re most passionate about?

Yes, I believe it’s important for people to be proactive about their own health. People should try to understand the disease and then do whatever is necessary to battle it. They shouldn’t ignore Parkinson’s or pretend it does not exist – they should embrace the challenge and use it as a tool for growth.

How widely read is your blog and in which countries?

I have over 100 subscribers who are mainly based in the US, Canada, Western Europe, and Israel.

Have you been surprised by the global audience you’ve attracted?

Yes, I’ve made friends with people from all over the world.

Which of your posts has attracted the most interest from your readers?

Please Don’t Pity Me’ which is about ‘Tikvah for Parkinson’ – a non-profit organisation working to provide physical and emotional support for the Parkinson’s community in greater Jerusalem. Another popular post is ‘Bubby Blunders’ which tells the story of our search for a boxing instructor to lead fitness classes for people with Parkinson’s. It also featured in Binah Magazine, a weekly magazine for Jewish women.

Talk us through your routine: when do you find time to blog?

Finding the time to blog is a major problem for me. I am super busy. I started ‘Tikvah for Parkinson’, for people fighting Parkinson’s and their supporters in Jerusalem. We have activities every day for the fighters, plus support groups for their cheering partners. We also do monthly lectures. It’s a huge amount of work.

What physical challenges do you face in writing and do you use any technology to support you?

All I can say is thank God for my computers. It makes it so easy to correct the finger fumbles – there’s no need to use correction fluid.

What do you hope people will take away from reading your blog?

Hope, and a smile. 

How did you get involved with the WPC? 

I went to the World Parkinson Congress in Portland in 2016 and was enamoured by the positivity. I wanted to bring that back to the community in Jerusalem.

Can you share any memorable moments from the last congress you attended?

I felt touched by David Leventhal’s dance group – Dance for PD.

What are you most looking forward to at WPC2019? 

Last time, I was so jet-lagged that every time I sat in a darkened room to listen to a lecture, I ended up dozing off. This time I hope to come early and get over the jet lag so that I can really gain from the information being offered. I am also looking forward to spending time with all my “Parkie” friends. They’re an incredible bunch!


Read more:

“There is nothing wrong with my head and I will not be judged by my condition” 

World Parkinson Congress 2019 Bloggers: Allison Smith

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