Peacock Ball Honors PACF Board Member, Dr. Rita Bornstien 

Photo Credit to the  Orange Observer

Photo Credit to the Orange Observer

Each year a worthy member of the community is recognized at the Winter Park History Museum’s Peacock Ball. This year, Dr. Rita Bornstein, our beloved Rollins College President Emeritus, and leader in the community was honored at this celebration.

On Friday, November 10, hundreds of people were in attendance for the black tie affair at the Alfond Inn, in Winter Park, Florida  to celebrate the 11th Annual Peacock Ball. A cocktail hour followed by a dinner was concluded with dancing to the Orlando Big Band as they preformed favorites from Tangos to Waltzes; Glenn Miller to Cab Calloway; and many more.

The Honoree,  Dr. Rita Bornstein was acknowledged for her accomplishments with Rollins College as they rose from number 6 to number 1 among Regional Universities in the South in the US News & World Report. During her 14 year tenure as President. Upon her retirement she was named Citizen of the Decade by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Bornstein currently serves on many boards including the Parkinson Association of Central where she helps to raise funds and awareness at the annual Walk for Parkinson in April of each year.

“Someday, we will find a cure”.

Welcome New Board Member Tonya Walker


Tonya is married to Chad Walker and together they have a son named Chase, dog named Callie, and a family fish named Jaws. When she's not working, Tonya enjoys running, watching her son play football, football games, and blogging about fashion. She became involved with the Parkinson's Association of Central Florida through Anissa Mitchell, the Florida Hospital Parkinson Outreach Program Manager. Tonya wishes to increase its presence in the Central Florida community by increasing community awareness of the many wonderful resources available to people with Parkinson's and their caregivers. 

Welcome New Board Member Blair Hull

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Blair Hull has been married to Bill Hull for 23 years. They have three children, Bradley (19), Michael  (16) and David (10). She heard about PACF through the Parkinson Support Group Meetings that she attends with her Mother who was diagnosed with Parkinson's for over 23 years. Blair wants to help spread the word about Parkinson's disease, what it is, and how it affects people. She hopes to continue raising money for programs as well as research for treatments and eventually a cure. 

Video Games Exercise Motor and Memory for Parkinson's Community Member

Meet Scott Thompson. He is a loving husband, video gamer and huge Star Trek fan. Scott and his wife Ravyn have a dachshund corgi mix named Harley who they love dearly.

Scott has a deep love for Star Trek related series, and movies, as well as DC and Marvel Superheroes. When he was five he decided to follow his positive role models and chose to stay out of trouble. His love for Star Trek began in 1972, when he first discovered it in reruns. The fascination with a positive view of the future grew stronger as he learned more from it, and it's ideals for where mankind was headed technologically. Many of the devices we take for granted today, came from the ideas of Star Trek. Yesterday's communicator, is today's cell phone for example.

In 2009 Scott was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. He first noticed symptoms when he was playing video games. His timing was off and he wasn’t able to push the buttons as quickly. Along with the delayed response, he also experienced pain and stiffness in his right arm. Once his doctor made the official diagnosis the news was tough to hear, however Scott and Ravyn remained optimistic about living life.  They later realized how medication can improve his motor skills so Scott decided to test his skills in the best way he knew how to by playing video games. Playing these games has helped challenge Scott with his hand and eye coordination.

Scott also attends the Orlando support group and has attended many of the other classes offered by Florida Hospital. He is a regular at the support group that meets every second and fourth Thursday of the month. To Scott, the support group is a family and he strives to know every member. Socialization is key to helping him manage his Parkinson’s. Staying active and developing relationships has helped him realize he can continue to do the things he loves.

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New Board Member: Leslie McClelland

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Welcome Leslie Mcclelland!

Leslie is the Marketing and Recruitment Director for Compass Research and has a background serving on many other non-profit boards. Leslie and her husband Andy have a daughter who is 2 ½ years old. Leslie enjoys reading, visiting museums, and going to playgrounds and splashpads all over Central Florida with her family. She first heard about the Parkinson Association through facebook and was able to learn about the support PACF provides for patients and caregivers. Leslie is most excited to help the organization meet the changing needs of families impacted by Parkinson’s disease through diverse programs and therapeutic offerings.  


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Top image shows PACF Board Members and a check donation for $10,000 to the National Parkinson's Foundation, bottom left image shows a check for $8,000 to the Michael J Fox Foundation and the bottom right image shows $2,000 donated to the Brian Grant Foundation.


The WALK FOR PARKINSON’s event raised an outstanding $106,000! These efforts aren’t possible without the help from the Central Florida community reaching out to friends and family members. Some of the contributions from the WALK, will be donated to three organizations, the National Parkinson Foundation, Michael J Fox Foundation, and the Brain Grant Foundation.

National Parkinson Foundation is helping people with Parkinson's live a better life today and conducting ground-breaking research for a better tomorrow. In August 2016, National Parkinson Foundation and the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation merged to form a stronger organization investing  in promising scientific research towards improving the lives of people living with Parkinson’s and their families. Last year the National Parkinson Foundation spent $7,090,460 towards public education, patient care services, and research, all of which impacts the greater Parkinson’s community. The donation will be specifically for the fellowship program to help support the next generation of Movement Disorder Neurologist.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation is leads in research helping to find a cure for Parkinson’s disease and has funded more than $700 million dollars to speed a cure for Parkinson’s. The Parkinson Association of Central Florida has helped donate towards research through the Michael J Fox Foundation’s Team Fox through two local community members. Through their efforts 100% of these donations go towards research and helps to raise awareness at the local level.

Earlier this April, Brian Grant was the featured speaker at the Brain and Beyond Conference where he shared his story and his mission at the Brian Grant Foundation. The Brian Grant Foundation focuses on exercise, wellness and nutrition and offers tangible resources to improve the quality of life for people with Parkinson’s. Brian continues to speak out about Parkinson’s and the affects the disease has had on his life.

Giving back to these organizations helps make a difference in improving the lives of people living with the disease today, and hope for a cure in the future. All of this is made possible by your generosity. Together we can improve the quality of life for all people impacted by Parkinson’s disease!

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New Board Member: Scott Herring

Welcome Scott Herring!

Scott is PACF’s newest board member. He is the Chief Financial Officer at Florida Citrus Sports and will serve as Treasurer on the PACF Board of Directors. Scott is married to Debbie Herring and they have three sons, Brett, Sean, and Kendall. His hobbies are playing and watching sports especially the Steelers, Penguins and the Pirates. Scott heard about the Parkinson’s Association through a close friend, and current board member, John Gabriel. John encouraged Scott to join the board and assume the position as Treasurer. Scott wants to help those living with Parkinson’s, their caregivers, and families so everyone can live life to the fullest.

Donation to the Michael J Fox Foundation

The Parkinson Association of Central Florida donates $8,000 to the Michael J Fox Foundation in support of two Central Florida community members, Rose Babcock and Tonya Walker.

Rose Babcock and her husband Chris organize the Pints for Parkinson’s event to raise money for Team Fox. The event is held at the World of Beer in Dr. Phillips and includes a variety of assorted raffle items. Tonya Walker hosts The Art of Fashion where many clothing styles are presented as well as art items created by local artists.

Both events help raise awareness and funds for Parkinson’s research. The Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson's disease through an aggressively funded research agenda and to ensuring the development of therapies for those living with Parkinson's today.


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Webmasters Concurring Parkinson’s Disease Together

Meet Chuck and Marsha Melvin. They are the webmasters who have created a website featuring information on how to improve the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Both of them live, research, and constantly update the information on the website, and together work as a team helping to support each other.

In the fall of 2010, Chuck fell and seriously injured himself and needed 13 stitches on his forehead. Soon after his fall, Chuck’s primary doctor sent him for an MRI and then to a Neurologist. Meanwhile, Chuck was having troubles with talking, balancing and struggled to remember Marsha’s name. It was the visit to the Neurologist where Chuck was officially diagnosed with Parkinson’s and was prescribed medication. Quickly after the first dose of medication he saw his symptoms improve and was able to remember Marsha’s name.

Marsha and Chuck have been married for 40 years and for the past 7 years have grown closer since Chuck’s diagnosis. The couple exercises together, attends the support group, and has participated in other Parkinson’s specific programs.  For example, when Chuck attended the LSVT Big program Marsha learned everything Chuck had to learn and was able to better help him continue his exercises.

“Trying to improving your symptoms by yourself is impossible. Marsha and I have developed a way to communicate to make my Parkinson’s better,” said Chuck. Together they enjoy staying active, stretching, attending pedaling class and continue to have a positive attitude.

Chuck believes that his mind has improved because of working on their website. Researching, writing, taking pictures and posting them are all things to make the website successful. The Melvin’s encourage others with Parkinson’s to write about their progress. They believe sharing stories helps inspire future readers and empowers others to stay active.

Continue to learn about the Melvin’s and their Parkinson’s research by visiting their website

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Pedaling For Parkinson’s Group Celebrates 5 Years!

On Saturday, June 10 the Pedaling for Parkinson’s group met to celebrate the groups 5 year anniversary. Debbie Apple helps coordinate the group at the YMCA in Winter Park every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 2:00-3:00pm. They have about 30 cyclers and promote the exercise as a way to help with PD symptoms by staying active in a fun and supportive group environment.

The program began when Debbie’s husband, Howie Apple was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Howie was an avid cyclist and through some research found clinical data supporting cycling as recommended exercise for those with Parkinson’s. The couple then took the Pedaling for Parkinson’s program to the YMCA and together the cycling program began.

The program starts out with a free 8-week session offered to people with Parkinson’s disease and their caregivers.  The 8 week timeline allows the individual to get a good sense of whether the class is a good fit or not. The class uses upbeat rock ‘n’ roll music to encourage a fast pace.Each individual is able to start out at a level they are comfortable with and gradually increase speed and distance. With a trained cycling instructor, the class is able to provide a supportive environment where each person can improve. With the common goal of fighting back against the progression of Parkinson’s disease the group sends a powerful message to keep active as a way to stay healthy.

Want to learn more or interested in joining this group? Contact Debbie Apple at 321-356-7899 or at 

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