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Parkinsons group holding benefit

Jerry Paige Winfield (from left) support group leader AndreDance Crown Point Cathy DuFCrown Point Paul Spirovich Winfield joothers dancing during

Jerry Paige of Winfield, (from left), support group leader Andrea Dance of Crown Point, Cathy DuFon of Crown Point, and Paul Spirovich of Winfield join others in dancing during a Parkinson's support group at Methodist Hospitals Southlake rehabilitation center in Merrillville, Ind. Wednesday May 15, 2013. The support group uses dance and games to exercise. | Stephanie Dowell~Post-Tribune

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If you go

Dancing Through the Decades style show, a fundraiser for NWI Parkinsons Inc., will be held May 22, beginning at 5:30 p.m., at Avalon Manor Banquet Center, 3550 E. Lincoln Highway, Hobart. The cost is $50 per ticket. Tickets are available at Elizabeth’s Fashions, 748 Lincoln Highway in Schererville, or by emailing elizabethfashions@comcast.net.

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When Elizabeth Woodbury, of Highland, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease her first reaction was, “What’s that?”

The second thought for the then 51-year-old was, “I’m too young.”

She discovered, in fact, she wasn’t too young to get the disease, which is a disorder of the brain that leads to tremors and difficulty with movement and coordination. While it’s considered a disease of the elderly, it most commonly afflicts people over age 50.

A third reaction was to do something to help further research and awareness of Parkinson’s and help others afflicted with the disease.

Nine years ago she founded NWI Parkinsons Inc. and held the nonprofit’s first annual fundraiser, a style show and dinner, 8 1/2 years ago. Since then, the nonprofit that she chairs has donated more than $225,000 to help fund research towards finding a cure for the disease, its director, Don Nagdeman said.

The ninth annual style show, to be called Dancing Through the Decades this year, will be held at 5:30 p.m. May 22 at the Avalon in Hobart. Tickets are $50 each and include dinner, fashion show, vendor tables, champagne and music from the various decades. There also will be a silent auction.

Fashions for the style show will be from John Cicco’s in Merrillville for men’s fashions and Woodbury’s own store, Elizabeth’s Fashions in Schererville, for women’s attire. Albert’s Jewelers in Schererville will supply jewelry for the show.

Woodbury said the style show has grown from 150-175 attendees the first year to more than 500 people last year.

Woodbury said money raised from the organization’s only fundraiser is divided three ways: some goes to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for research purposes, some goes to the American Parkinson’s Disease Association and some stays locally, to support symposiums, support groups and dance classes.

“Awareness is very important. More people are finding out about Parkinson’s disease through our effort to educate through our symposiums, which have had speakers and doctors from around the country talk about the various special areas in regard to Parkinson’s disease,” Nagdeman said.

He said the actor Michael J. Fox, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in his 30s, sent a speaker to the organization’s symposium and style show last year.

Woodbury and Nagdeman recently attended a dinner in New York City hosted by Fox for those who give money to his foundation.

Woodbury said support groups meet from 4 to 6 p.m. the third Monday of the month at Marian Education Center at St. Anthony Medical Center in Crown Point and at 11 a.m. the fourth Tuesday of the month at Methodist Hospitals Southlake Campus in Merrillville.

The free dance classes are offered to people with Parkinson’s from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Wednesdays at the Rehabilitation Center at Methodist Hospitals.

“The dance classes help a lot. It’s important to keep moving so you don’t get stiff,” said Woodbury, who works out every day.

She said about 15 to 20 people attend the classes, but she’d like to see more attend.



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