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In early 2017, in an exercise class for Parkinson’s disorder patients, as arms were swinging and feet were flying, Susan Lippert overheard someone say "We are like snowflakes because no two of us are alike; we have the same disease but different symptoms." Susan immediately understood - and it sparked an idea.
Parkinson's patients share the same clinical diagnoses but different symptoms. Like snowflakes, each Parkinson's patient is "unique." Not many people know this about this often misunderstood disease.
Susan’s idea was to do something to raise awareness of the disease. She brought snowflakes stickers and started handing them out at the next exercise classes. The reaction was immediate and enthusiastic. But the stickers were temporary. Susan wanted a more permanent way to showcase support of Parkinson’s disease patients. She realized a lapel pin was needed to replace the sticker.
In came fellow exerciser, Pat Gastreich, who had experience in sourcing products.
THE SNOWFLAKE PROJECT WAS BORN
What is Parkinson's disease?
Parkinson's disease is a chronic, progressive disorder caused by the malfunction and death of nerve cells in the brain. Symptoms vary by patient, but people with the disease often experience tremors, slowness of movement, stiffness, and impaired balance and coordination.
Approximately one million people in the US are living with Parkinson's, with 60,000 new diagnoses each year, and 15-25% of people have relatives with the disorder.
There is no known cause and no cure yet. Medication and surgery can help manage symptoms.
Why a snowflake?
We celebrate snowflakes for the uniqueness. And like snowflakes, no two Parkinson's patients experience the disease the same way. Project founders Susan Lippert and Pat Gastreich believe snowflakes are the perfect symbols to represent their cause.
Public awareness of Parkinson's and support for PD patients and their families through the gift of a snowflake. Our goal is to sell 60,000 pins, one for each newly diagnosed patient per year, to be in a public place, see a snowflake and know someone understands.
How you can help
When you purchase a snowflake pin on our site, you're making a donation to help care for those living with Parkinson's. We thank you for your support!
Funds raised are donated to the Gardner Patient Care Fund at the University of Cincinnati. Funds are for patient care for people living with Parkinson's.
The Parkinson's Snowflake Project was proud to present their first check to the Parkinson's Patient Care Fund. We presented it to The Development Office of The University of Cincinnati Gardner Neuroscience Institute.
Pictured from left to right: Alex Lolli, development coordinator; Pat Gastreich, Parkinson's Snowflake Project cofounder; Kathy Nullmeier, associate director of development; Michanne Davis, Gardner Center social worker; Susan Lippert, Parkinson's Snowflake Project cofounder.