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April declared Parkinsons Awareness Month
ell kl parkinsons

TOPEKA — On April 1, the state of Kansas formally declared the month of April as Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month.
The resolution, sponsored by Senator Garrett Love and Representative Ronald Ryckman Sr. was written by Ellinwood Chamber Administrator J. Basil Dannebohm. Governor Sam Brownback also issued an official proclamation.
The proclamation hit close to home for several members of the Kansas Legislature.
“Anyone who has experienced the pain of a loved one or friend with this dreadful disease knows the mystery of a mind trapped in a frozen state unable to communicate effectively both verbally and physically. My own Father’s unresolved experience with Parkinson’s has increased my awareness and resolve to support organizations and individuals who are fighting for a cure. May God bless their efforts,” said Senator Julia Lynn from the 9th District.
“When my grandmother died, she had advanced Parkinson’s, I can’t say for certain whether or not the disease was a factor in her death but she suffered with Parkinson’s for more than a decade. Unfortunately, there has not been as much priority on Parkinson’s disease as there should be. This horrible disease affects so many people,” said Representative Jim Howell from the 81st District.
Before the proclamation was read, Representative Marshall Christmann from the 113th District, recognized Dannebohm, who was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease in 2012. The recognition commended Dannebohm for his “passion, service to his state and community and his genuine love and dedication to the great state of Kansas.”
“I have learned much about the human quality of hopefulness from a true champion of the human spirit. It is not possible to know  Basil and not grow as a person,” said Christmann.
Last week, Governor Brownback appointed Dannebohm as a commissioner on the Kansas Commission on Disability Concerns and a member of the board of directors of the Central Kansas Library System.
Dannebohm was accompanied to the State House by a contingent of supporters from Ellinwood including Lloyd Kurtz, John Isern, Jacque Isern, Linda Borror, Gayle Christy, Sharon Shartz, Taylor Schartz, Dr. Catherine Strecker and Father Pascal Klein. He was also accompanied to the Capitol by fellow Parkinson’s patients, Lisa Reser and Rob Peppers.
Reser, a teacher from Ellinwood, suffers from Parkinson’s Disease. Though she faces the daily challenges of living with the disease, she remains committed to broadening the minds of her students.
For 19 years, Rob Peppers was chief meteorologist for CBS-affiliated television station WIBW in Topeka, Kansas. In 2007, he stepped down due to his health though he still works for the station behind the scenes and serves as president of the Hatke Parkinson Support Group and a board member for the Northeast Kansas Parkinson’s Association,
“Parkinson’s affects many Kansans, and several had the courage to put a face on a debilitating disease today. These folks aren’t a statistic, they’re our friends and neighbors and the attention they are bringing to this issue will someday lead to a cure,” said Representative J.R. Claeys from the 69th District.
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder that affects nearly one million people in the US. Although promising research is being conducted, there is currently no cure for or definitive cause of Parkinson’s disease.