Local Parkinson’s advocates team up to speed research, new treatments
New York — Gordon Guist of Camden and Cameron Weaver of Mount Vernon are teaming up to influence Parkinson’s disease research and to speed the development of new and effective treatments. The two are hitting the ground running in Maine after participating in a training last month in New Jersey for a national advocacy network known as Parkinson’s Advocates in Research, led by the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation.
Weaver, an educator for more than 20 years, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2002. He quickly became active in the Parkinson’s community, taking a position as a coordinator for a local support group just two years later. Guist, a bioengineer in the corporate sector, was diagnosed in 1998 and also became active in the cause.
They partnered up at the PDF training, where Weaver was a participant and Guist was returning as a faculty member. Weaver attended rigorous sessions on the science of Parkinson’s and the process that brings new treatments to market, while Guist, a seasoned veteran who completed the training in 2010, provided tips to the newest group of Research Advocates based upon his experience in the field.
Guist said in a news release he left feeling hopeful, “Knowing there are two of us in Maine, and more than 130 Research Advocates around the country committed to looking for a cure, leaves me feeling so empowered.”
The pair has several goals for Maine, one of which is to ensure people with Parkinson’s statewide have information about local research studies and know what questions to ask before participating. Another goal is to identify and eliminate any barriers to participation in research in Maine, one of which they say is travel. Weaver said, “It can be difficult for people with Parkinson’s to participate in research studies in Maine simply because of issues like distance and inclement weather. We will work to provide encouragement and logistical support to people who want to participate in studies.”
For more information about the work of these PDF Research Advocates or the Parkinson’s Advocates in Research program please contact PDF at (800)457-6676 or email@example.com or visit pdf.org/pair.