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Bedford's Mayor Skip Tharp has signed a proclamation declaring April as Parkinson's Disease Awareness Month in Bedford. This is a disease that afflicts 1.5 million Americans, including Dave Ballard, who founded the Bedford Parkinson's Disease Support Group.
The awareness month is a national effort by the American Parkinson's Disease Association (APDA) to encourage continued research to identify the disease's cause and find a cure. April 11 marks the 233rd birthday of Dr. James Parkinson who first recognized the disease in 1817. He originally called it "Shaking Palsy" but it later came to bear his name.
According to APDA's Web site, Parkinson's disease is a progressive disorder of the central nervous system. Clinically, the disease is characterized by a decrease in spontaneous movements, gait difficulty, postural instability, rigidity and tremor.
The Bedford support group meets every month in Bedford Memorial Hospital's conference room. The meetings are held on the second Thursday of each month at 2:30 p.m. For more information, call (540) 586-1406.