Original post at Life Balance Sports Blog, http://lifebalancesports.blogspot.com

By Gina Poertner, CHES

I recently attended a Victory Summit presented by the Davis Phinney Foundation for Parkinson’s, this one in Denver. The first thing I learned, the first victory, is that this isn’t just a symposium it’s an Experience. The main reason for my trip down I-70 was to honor a request Davis made of me more than a year ago, to learn firsthand how the Victory Summit helps those afflicted and their families deal with Parkinson’s Disease. I figured it was pretty much a guarantee to make me a better advocate, very likely a better wellness professional, and maybe even a better coach. Well, it was so much more and a victory like no other.

Davis Phinney, diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2000, knows how to prove a point when he makes an entrance. It was fun to watch everyone brighten up when ran through the venue, proving what is possible. 600 victories in one fell swoop. He bounded onto the stage, flashed his bright smile and supercharged the entire room. And you bet he had us throwing our arms up in the air for a big victory salute.

The presentations and panel discussions were top-notch and covered a variety of topics on the disease itself and living with the effects. We heard from doctors, therapists, and even a comedian who performed for us and later shared her experience of living with Young-Onset PD during a panel discussion. Maintaining control of movement is a primary focus for those living with Parkinson’s, so we were on the move all day long. We played instruments, we exercised, we stretched, and we even danced. Each activity and each session a new victory. Would you expect anything less from one of the winningest American cyclists?

Terry Poertner and Gina Poertner meet for the first time at the Davis Phinney Foundation's Victory Summit.

Connecting Families: Terry Poertner and Gina Poertner meet for the first time at the Davis Phinney Foundation’s Victory Summit.

The Victory Summit is very much about families since spouses, children, and relatives become caregivers to those living with PD. This summit had an unexpected and profound impact on my family. The Victory Crew’s Program Manager, Lauren Hunt, asked me about the other Poertners who would be attending. I wasn’t familiar with these people, but she made sure we connected. I met Terry and his sister, Carol, much to their surprise. We weren’t sure how or if we were actually related, but it didn’t take long to realize that it didn’t matter, we became family that day through the Experience. A major victory for all of us. Terry and his father both have Parkinson’s, so he and Carol filled me in on what they deal with day-to-day. Terry is an athlete, an avid skier determined to continue in his sport, to keep counting victories, to Live Well Today.

The Experience that is the Victory Summit had blown the top off of any expectations I might have had. About 600 people experienced the day, 600 more reasons that Every Victory Counts®. You can help bring more victories to those living with Parkinson’s Disease by donating to the Davis Phinney Foundation on my special page, TNW Victory.

If you or someone you know has Parkinson’s disease, make it a point to attend a Victory Summit. You’ll hear from top medical professionals, get your questions answered, and actively learn skills to Live Well Today. I can’t guarantee that you’ll meet unknown relatives, but I can guarantee that you’ll leave with new skills, more knowledge, and your own unique Experience.


Please click here to donate to the Davis Phinney Foundation.

Your donation is a victory in the fight against Parkinson’s Disease. Please click logo to donate.

 

Gina Poertner, CHES

Gina Poertner, CHES is the owner of Life Balance Sports who specializes in bicycle fitting and positioning, Myofascial Compression Therapy, and adapted sports. Gina coaches cyclists, triathletes, and track & field athletes at all levels of ability from beginner to elite. Gina’s expertise in sports physiology coupled with her detailed approach to bike fitting and coaching has given her athletes success across the US and Europe. Gina is a Certified Health Education Specialist focusing on exercise physiology and sports nutrition. As an Intern at Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, Kansas, Gina studied under orthopedic surgeon Dr. Charles Henning while serving as Athletic Trainer for Wichita Southeast High School and studying physiology at Wichita State University. She has authored and co-authored a variety of training and nutrition articles for Pez Cycling News, Ironman.com, LAVA Magazine, and Prologue Cycling Magazine. Gina has served on the sports medicine staffs of AAU Junior Olympics, National Gymnastics Championships, National Indoor Track & Field Championships, and individual world class, Olympic, and professional athletes. She is also a Certified Official for USA Track & Field and USA Cycling and continues to officiate local, national and international events.

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