PD COnnect Logo

Welcome To PD-Connect

PD-Connect is a nonprofit organization that serves Parkinson’s pioneers in Marin County through customized group exercise and neurologically and research-based movement programs.

PD-Connect is an ever-widening community for those who share the PD journey: Spouses, family members, friends and caregivers are encouraged to become involved and draw upon the positive energy that is demonstrated through program participants.

PD-Connect provides free classes for all those living with Parkinson’s disease, through community support and donations.

What Is Parkinson’s disease?

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative movement disorder that affects the cells in the brain. Symptoms vary greatly from person to person. Symptoms can include slowness of movement, stiffness, tremor, or balance and gait problems. For many patients of PD, frequent bouts of cognitive imbalance are common. And let’s not forget, there is no cure for PD at this time.

What We Value

We are guided by these core values that give us purpose and direction in all that we do:

Kindness and Compassion We strive to be gentle with ourselves and others, knowing that everyone is doing the very best they can.

Sense of Belonging PD-Connect fosters relationships and community. It strives to create an atmosphere of inclusion for all who join with us.

Flexibility Each day presents a gift of life and the opportunity for adventure.

Dignity We value the special contribution every individual brings to our community.

Respect PD-Connect honors the goodness and uniqueness in every participant.

Joyfulness We strive to unlock the reservoir of happiness and hope that lies within each of us!

“I never thought I would be happy going to group exercise classes. That changed when I started going to PD-Connect’s Delay the Disease classes. Now I am grateful for the benefits of increased well-being that comes after every class.  I wish we had classes every day. That’s how happy they make me.”
Rita D.

Programs

Exercise is medicine. But all exercise is NOT created equal. Research-based and an integration of meaningful movements as seen through the eyes of a physical therapist specializing in Parkinson’s. PD-Connect classes draw from a variety of Parkinson’s-specific protocols, including OhioHealth’s Delay The Disease™ (The #1 Parkinson’s Exercise Program), PWR!Moves®, Brian Grant Foundation Boot Camp, Dance for PD®, ParkinsonWise, YogaReach Mindful Movement for Parkinson’s Disease, and adapted movements from martial arts and sports.

The focus of each class centers around the principles of cardiovascular health, cognitive well-being, and core-strengthening, all tailored to address the predominant symptoms of PD. The goal of each class is to improve functional mobility, neuroplasticity, balance, strength, voice, cognition, posture, confidence, reduction of freezing, and most importantly, HAVE FUN!

 

High-Intensity Exercise Class

Introducing a high-intensity, highly-focused group exercise class specifically designed for people with Parkinson’s disease. This class has grown in popularity thanks to a one-year National Parkinson’s Foundation grant earned in 2017. Classes are tailored towards newly-diagnosed, or high-functioning people with Parkinson’s (those who are able to walk, run, and jump without assistance or supervision).

 

Support Group

FIRST MONDAY OF EVERY MONTH

Come and share, learn, and listen. Hear inspiring and informative stories of what people CAN do while living with Parkinson’s. We start with a short presentation and then break into Men’s and Women’s groups.

Fridays in the Park

FRIDAYS DURING THE SUMMER

Let’s walk, hike, breathe, and exercise in the great outdoors! Nordic pole walking instruction and guided group exercises will be held where suitable. Participants must be able to walk without supervision or assistance.  Locations vary.

“I am going on 9 years since my diagnosis of Parkinson’s and I am dedicated to my exercise programs. In 2017, I was introduced to PD-Connect. The hour and 15 minute class can be challenging without it being overwhelming. I enjoy the group of people who attend the class. A Parkinson’s diagnosis often makes one become reclusive, cutting ties with family and friends. But I feel genuine camaraderie in this class. And if that isn’t enough, I’ve been able to reduce my need for meds.”
Mia M.

Locations

Five Points Fitness Gym

5651 Paradise Dr Corte Madera

Mt. Tam Racquet Club

1 Larkspur Plaza Drive Larkspur

St. Sebastian Church – Parish Hall

373 Bon Air Road, Kentfield

Rolling Hills Club

351 San Andreas Drive Novato

Calendar

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“PD-Connect has been invaluable to me.  The exercises we are given are very challenging, but the most amazing thing to me is: even I can do them! I believe my confidence and belief in myself have grown, and that Parkinson’s disease is being delayed because of this class. I encourage anyone with PD to come and experience the transformation.”
Marilyn S.

“I feel very fortunate to have PD-Connect as part of my overall wellness team. Classes constantly offer different exercises and challenges, so it’s never boring or overly repetitive. Classes are helpful to me as I remind myself about following Lisa’s advice and instruction. I am trying to stay away from meds for as long as possible and, I believe the exercises are helpful.”
Linda H.

FAQ's

PD-Connect is a local community forum where the physical and emotional needs of the Parkinson’s community can find active support and encouragement. PD-Connect represents the vision and passion of Dr. Lisa Oei, a physical therapist and Parkinson’s wellness coach. Lisa’s credentials include a Master’s and Doctorate Degree in Physical Therapy from the University of California, San Francisco and certifications in several Parkinson’s-specific exercise protocols.

PD Questions & Answers The following questions and answers are intended to help explain the goals and resources available through PD-Connect to early-stage and advanced PD patients. The following questions were posed by Roger Archey, a recently diagnosed Parkinson’s patient and member of the PD-Connect Marin County community.

Roger: Please summarize your professional background and what led you to specialize in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

Lisa: I’ve worked as a physical therapist in a variety of settings, but in 2015 I was asked to collaborate on a Parkinson’s research study. Working within this niche allows for innovation and inspires me to utilize all of my skills.

Lisa: We recognize that every student experiences a unique set of struggles. The healing culture of PD-Connect provides a stimulating and fun environment allowing for individual growth. It’s encouraging for our students to track their improvements over time.

Roger: You have often stated in class that an important goal in PD treatment is to show students how they can successfully delay the onset of this debilitating disease while a cure is sought. Do you really think this is a realistic goal?

Lisa: Absolutely! As students experience the satisfaction of improving their stamina, balance, memory, cognitive development, and physical strength, they are in a much better position to deal with the persistence of Parkinson’s over time. Many of our students have shown significant improvement in just one year of hard work. This is very exciting for all of us.

Footnote: Recent clinical studies have shown that an aggressive regime of exercise and healthy living can make a significant difference in how people live with Parkinson’s. We conclude this column with an invitation to join us again soon.

“As an introvert, group activities must be really good to win my loyalty. PD-Connect is really good. It’s friendly but not pushy, low-key yet challenging. It has become an indispensable part of my own ‘wellness despite Parkinson’s’ program. I highly recommend it.”
Bill T.

Donate

In 2017, PD-Connect was one of only 14 nationwide recipients of a grant from the National Parkinson’s Foundation to expand its High-Intensity Exercise Classes. It also formed an inaugural team (formerly Team NeuroBlasters) and earned 2nd place in the Friends and Family Team category for raising the most funds for the National Parkinson’s Foundation MOVING DAY.

Starting in 2018, MarinLink has partnered with PD-Connect to serve as its fiscal sponsor, signaling its nonprofit status as well as its intention to grow. In order to keep offering free classes for people with Parkinson’s through PD-Connect, all donations are welcome.

 

If you would like to mail your donation, please send a check payable to:  

PD-Connect c/o MarinLink 5800 Northgate Mall, Suite 250, San Rafael, CA 94903

Note: Larger one-time gifts, please pay by check, if possible.

No gift is too small or too big to make a difference.