Page logo Link to donation fom Link to donation site

Welcome to the Rhode Island Chapter of the American Parkinson Disease Association

Welcome to the website for the Rhode Island Chapter of the American Parkinson Disease Association. Our mission is to "Ease the Burden, To Find A Cure" for the people with Parkinson's Disease and their caregivers in Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts. Our goal is to provide education, support and socialization. Along with educational information found on our website will hold many event, both educational and social during the year and there is something for everyone. Please feel free to call: 401-736-1046 with any questions that maybe of concern to you. You may email us at:

Our mailing address is:

American Parkinson Disease Association- Rhode Island Chapter

PO Box 41659

Providence, Rhode Island 02940

Brown Research Study Seeks Participants with Freezing Gait

Researchers at Brown University are seeking participants to help them with a virtual reality study involving walking for any person with Parkinson's who exhibits freezing of gait.  For more information about this study please click through to review their flyer!

Fighting Parkinson's by Tim Bickford

Fighting Parkinson's

By Tim Bickford

As I turned left down a back lane that led to a big old Pawtucket mill with a giant brick smokestack across from a recycle and scrap metal business, I followed the arrows to the back of the mill to the "Fight2Fitness" boxing center. Why would a sixty-five year old retired teacher want to go into boxing? One punch to my kisser and I would be close to rigor mortis!! I'll always remember Mohammed Ali pummeling his opponents with lightning jabs, hooks and uppercuts shouting "What's my name??" Luckily, this was not about receiving punches, but throwing them.

Recent studies have shown that intense exercise in "neurologically vulnerable points " (like my arm and leg tremors) can drastically reduce the symptoms of Parkinson's. The words of my doctor linger in my thoughts—"Parkinson's is a degenerative brain disease with no cure".... (Yet!!)... I was willing to try most anything to fight back........

April 4th - NEW "Coventry Parkinson's Support Group"

Our friends at the West Bay Support Group are making a COVENTRY and will now be known as the new "Coventry Parkinson's Support Group"!!  They will meet the 1st Saturday each month at 10 AM  at New England Bay Assisted Living, 600 Centre of New England Boulevard, Coventry, RI.  New England Bay is located in the Walmart Shopping area at exit 7 from route 95.  For more information please call Karen at 884-2513

April 4th - NEW Young Onset "Optimism Club" Support Group Meets in Pawtucket

April 4th for our next Young Onset Parkinson's Support Group, serving northern RI and SE Massachusetts. We will meet at Fight2fitness Gym 65 Blackstone Ave in Pawtucket. This group will meet the first Saturday each month at 11:00 AM and will be facilitated by Rich Gingras from Rock Steady Boxing New England.  For more information about this group please contact Rich at 508-316-6520. 

April 11th- Deep Brain Stimulation Support Group

The Deep Brain Stimulation Support Group will meet on Saturday, April 11th at 10 am at Kent Hospital in the Doctors Auditorium. This will be a general discussion meeting with both those who have had DBS and those who would like to learn more about it. Kim Givens from Medtronic will be in attendance!

April 14th- Chapter Board Meeting

The next  meeting of the APDA Rhode Island Chapter will be on on Tuesday, April 14th at 6:30PM. We meet the second Tuesday each month at Kent Hospital in the Westmoreland Conference Room on the first floor. This meeting is open to the public and all are welcome.


April 25th - Unity Walk Bus Trip to New York City

"Freedom from Parkinson's disease can be a Walk in the park...."

The Rhode Island Chapter of the American Parkinson Disease Association is again organizing a bus trip to the Parkinson’s Unity Walk in New York City. This fun and moving event fills up fast so check out the information on how to join us on the bus trip. Click through for complete information and bus registration form. 

After reserving your seat on the bus you can register for our team.. 


Go to our  team page at:

To Register for "Team Rhode Island " follow the link above and let the "FUNdraising" begin. 

Bob Preston's " 2014 OPTIMISM CAN TAKE YOU ANYWHERE!" campaign


Raising funds for "Patient Care Services in RI"!

I enjoyed a very successful 33 year career in the insurance industry building a large insurance organization before retiring in 2011, at age 53, the very top of my career, due to the effects of Parkinson's Disease.

The irony:  While retiring early was positively NOT my first choice, I have since discovered that at the same time my day job was ending, I was unwittingly discovering my new life's calling, Supporting PD patients and Funding A Cure!  To learn more....

"Shake, Rattle & Roll With It; Living & Laughing with Parkinson's" by Vikki Claflin

Vikki chonicles her hilarious and ofter poignant journey, dealing with Parkinson's Disease with her usual irreverance and laughter. Whether she is chasing her Chihuahuha or learning to pole dance in her living room, Vikki will have you laughing and crying at the same time.  Reviews include: "There is nothing funny about Parkinson's. Until there is. Vikki Claflin makes you laugh when you feel like crying. Shake, Rattle & Roll With It is a blueprint for getting through the often painful turns in life with grace, fortitude, and thank God, a wicked sense of humor." - Kathleen O'Donnell, author.

Vikki has been featured on many websites, Erma Bombecks's Writer's Workshop, The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Generation Fabulous to name just a few! 

We will soon have a copy in our lending library or you can obtain a copy on

New Study to Evaluate Speech and Swallowing Before and After DBS!

There is a new research study recruiting participants to evaluate speech and swallowing both before and after Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery.  The study will be conducted at the University of Rhode Island Speech and Hearing Centers two locations. You may chose the URI Campus in Kingston or their Independence Square location in Pawtucket. For more information please review their flyer....

Dance for our Aging Population- 8 week pilot begins in February

Dance for our Aging Population - DAP now meets at Brown University, Ashamu Dance Studio 77 Waterman St Providence, RI. These classes are under the direction of Rachal Balaban, Regional Coordinator for Dance for PD assisted by Brown University students. They meet on Thursdays from 11:00  to 12:15 PM. The class is open to our aging population and designed for people with movement challenges. No experience required, Caregivers are welcome. Classes are free! For more information....

Rock Steady Boxing at Fight2Fitness Gym in Pawtucket!

Rock Steady Boxing New England (RSBNE) provides an effective form of physical exercise for people who are living with Parkinson's. RSBNE is an affiliate of Rock Steady Boxing, a non-profit gym in Indianapolis founded in 2006 by former Marion County (Indiana) prosecutor Scott C. Newman who was diagnosed with Parkinon's at age 40.  This new exercise program is now available in Rhode Island at Fight2FitnessGym, 65 Blackstone Ave. Pawtucket, RI. To find out more check them out online at: or call 401-728-2039. Click through to see their flyer. 

Don McCarthy- This years LifeTime Achievement Award Recipient

On September 13th the Rhode Island Chapter presented Don with our "Lifetime Achievement Award" for a lifetime of service to our country and his active participation in our chapter!

On June 6th we remembered those who hit the beaches of Normandy and saved the world our thoughts are with our friend Don McCarthy.  Don returned to that beach this past summer to remember friends lost and heroes born. This article written by George Morse for AAA tells some of Don's thoughts as he planned for this memorable trip back to that beach, to that moment in history. All Don's friends at RI APDA wish him safe passage on his journey and we thank him for...his service and our FREEDOM!

Current Research Opportunities

Many members of RI APDA have participated or are currently participating in research studies at varies sites. We will now maintain a list of ongoing research studies that are available for those who are interested. As researchers make us aware of new studies they will be added to our website. For questions about participation.....

New studies at URI!

PD Exercise Instructors- Your help is needed!

In the next few weeks, the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Connecticut will be sending out a research survey that focuses on gathering information on both a statewide and national level on the structure and intensity of Parkinson's exercise classes available to individuals with Parkinson's in each state. The end goal of our research is to provide an effective representation for each state of the exercise classes available for Parkinson's patients. Therefore, if there are any Parkinson's exercise class instructors who would like to lend assistance in providing more information about their classes in a short survey that will be sent out it would be greatly appreciated. Our goal is to capture the input and feedback from as many Parkinson's exercise class instructors in each state as possible to ensure that each state and region of the United States is equally and effectively represented in the research publication that will result from this research study.

For more information about the study please contact Tim Isselee at the University of Connecticut:

Breaking News

This new section on our website will keep you up to date on the latest articles found on the internet regarding Parkinson's disease. Just follow through to the next page and click on the links provided to be taken to articles of interest....

VA to Extend Benefits for Tramatic Brain Injury for those who also have Parkinson's

WASHINGTON – Some Veterans with traumatic brain injury (TBI) who are diagnosed with any of five other ailments will have an easier path to receive additional disability pay under new regulations developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs.The new regulation, which takes effect 30 days from today, impacts some Veterans living with TBI who also have Parkinson's disease, certain types of dementia, depression, unprovoked seizures or certain diseases of the hypothalamus and pituitary glands. To read the full press release.......

Making the Connection Between Brain and Behavior, Second Edition

Dr Joseph Friedman's new book is now available!

"Making the Connection Between Brain and Behavior, Second Edition"

The only complete and up-to-date book addressing the most common behavioral symptoms of Parkinson's Disease (PD), including depression, anxiety, hallucinations, disrupted sleep, and compulsive behavior. For more information....

Join RI APDA Chapter facebook group

   Yes!! Rhode Island APDA has it's own group on Facebook. Use this social networking site to meet others in RI and across the country who have or care about someone with Parkinson's disease.!/groups/119816945170/

Yoga Classes at the Kent Y for Individuals with Movement & Balance Disorders


The New and Improved Kent Y now has New & Improved Classes for People with Movement & Balance Disorders. Kent YMCA has Yoga classes with you in mind. For more information....