Claire Berman, writer and advocate for people with Parkinson's disease

Levy, Annie

doi: 10.1097/01.NNN.0000451331.21034.72
Departments: Pictures of You

Why writer Claire Berman chose to go public with her Parkinson's disease.

A photo series of Neurology Now readers.

To see more of Annie Levy's photography, go to annielevy.com.

Claire Berman, writer and advocate for people with Parkinson's disease.

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When were you diagnosed with Parkinson's disease? On December 11, 2001. At first, I didn't want to share it with anyone. Six years later, I opened up. People said they already knew, but were honoring my privacy. After all those years of holding this secret, now I'm talking to you!

What accounted for that change? I decided that going public and getting involved—in my case, with the Parkinson's Disease Foundation (pdf.org)—would accomplish something positive. I feel like I'm making a difference. We need people to volunteer for clinical trials—people with PD and without.

How can people get involved? Get in touch with the Parkinson's Disease Foundation, the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (michaeljfox.org), the National Institutes of Neurologic Disorders and Stroke (ninds.nih.gov)—PD trials are everywhere.

What keeps you going? Having PD brought me into a world of people who are coping with this illness, some of them very creatively. It's been a world of new friends and new community. Although I wouldn't have chosen PD, I've met wonderful people who are striving to make a difference.

Claire Berman's book Caring for Yourself While Caring for Your Aging Parents is available on Amazon.com. You can also find her writing at NYCitywoman.com.

© 2014 American Academy of Neurology