Tom and Carol Reid have been contributing to the Parkinson's disease community for about 15 years—and on Saturday, the Plum couple will be recognized for their work.
The Reids will be this year's recipients of the Davis Phinney Foundation's Local Hero Award at the foundation's Victory Summit on Saturday, Sept. 15, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh.
The event is a national symposia series created by the Davis Phinney Foundation to provide information and inspiration for people with Parkinson’s and their care partners.
When asked about the award, Carol Reid is very humble.
"It's very lovely, but I feel there are so many other people who should be honored as well," she said. "I am terribly honored that we would be picked, but we know so many people who do so much and are heroes."
The Reids became active members of the Parkinson's community about 15 years ago, when Tom Reid was diagnosed with the disease, a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system. The couple lived in Penn Hills at the time.
"We went to support groups in Pittsburgh and were very frightened," she said. "The medication took away the symptoms initially, and we saw people in wheelchairs and dyskinesia. It was scary for us, so we stopped going."
A few years later, the Reids moved to Ligonier with the intention to retire. Carol Reid said they decided to give support groups another shot.
She said after attending a few sessions at the Westmoreland County Parkinson's Support Group in Greensburg, she suggested to the coordinators that they get speakers with "more meat." She and Tom then became members of the group's leadership.
"Tom and I did a lot of the work together," Carol Reid said. "We have found that being with other folks who are going through the same thing is just so helpful to us. No one else quite gets it the same."
Through that group, the Reids formed a smaller support group that still meets about once a month. They also joined up with the National Parkinson's Foundation of Western PA and have helped organize a weekend retreat for couples for the last six years.
"You're in a place where everybody gets it. I truly believe people need other people," she said."We're very blessed because we have had the opportunity to have our needs met and to meet the needs of others. It's wonderful."
Since moving back to the east suburbs two years ago, the Reids have been helping the National Parkinson's Foundation of Western PA create a Monroeville support group—the Monroeville Parkinson's Support Group.
"We're very excited about this," Carol Reid said.
And they're looking forward to the Victory Summit.
"I'm so happy they're doing this," Carol Reid said. "There are a lot of folks who aren't available when support groups meet. This is an opportunity for them to talk to others and get a lot of information at once. It's very helpful."
About the Victory Summit
The event will be held on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh. There is no charge to attend, but registration is required. During the event, researchers, clinicians and movement disorder experts will discuss a range of topics and lead interactive sessions to educate attendees and help them identify ways to address physical and emotional challenges associated with Parkinson’s. For more information or to register, visit http://davisphinneyfoundation.org/victory-summit/upcoming-victory-summits.