Our Davis Phinney Foundation Ambassadors are at the heart of our organization. They are our fearless leaders dedicated to living well today, who use their knowledge, passion, and experience to support others going through a Parkinson’s journey. Each Monday during Parkinson’s Awareness Month, we will highlight a “Day in the Life” of one of our amazing Ambassadors. This week, we are happy to feature Steve Hovey. Here is “a day in his life,” in his own words:
Shortly after my wife, Nancy, and I moved from New Jersey to Saratoga Springs, the Davis Phinney Foundation asked if I would consider being an Ambassador for the upstate New York area. I had lived in New Jersey for most of my life, as had Nancy; we had lived in the town we’d just left for 35 years! In our new town, we didn’t know anyone, especially in the Parkinson’s community. In fact, I did not even have a single doctor selected when the Ambassador offer came in. Regardless, I accepted, though with some trepidation because I knew the role was going to force me to go out and establish relationships with people I had not even met. In the end, though, my concerns turned into a huge blessing!
Nancy and I had been involved with the Davis Phinney Foundation since 2009, two years after my Parkinson’s diagnosis. In the beginning, we used local cycling events as opportunities to put together fundraising teams (with the exception of last year during the COVID-19 pandemic, we do this annually). We then began getting involved with the Foundation’s educational events. It was easy to understand what an incredible resource and friend the Foundation was to the Parkinson’s community. Soon, as an Ambassador and as someone living with Parkinson’s, I had the opportunity to go out and share with others what the Foundation was all about. Fast forward a couple more years, and I can tell you this has been an incredibly rewarding and mutually beneficial experience for me. It has, I am quite sure, been equally as important and beneficial to the Parkinson’s community in the capital region of New York State (Albany and the surrounding area).
As an Ambassador, I have been able to meet and be a resource to numerous Parkinson’s support groups. I have met and continue to meet the most interesting and inspiring people. A week does not go by without my having a meaningful discussion with someone about Parkinson’s. These discussions can be as simple as talking through an exercise question or helping someone request an Every Victory Counts® manual. It could be assisting someone about where to go for help, or the addressing the question, “Has this ever happened to you, or do you know someone I can talk to?” It could just be a simple pep talk. Being an Ambassador has given me the opportunity to give back to the Parkinson’s community that has been so supportive of me, as well as my family.
What I am most excited about now is working with our local Parkinson’s leaders to make our community a Healthy Parkinson’s Community™. Healthy Parkinson’s Communities is a Davis Phinney Foundation initiative that has been developed to support community leaders, volunteers, and advocates in the pursuit of making the places where we live, work, and play more inclusive and supportive for those living with Parkinson’s. At the moment, there are four communities in the country actively working toward joining this network. It’s going to be great for our Parkinson’s community and I, as well as the other stakeholders in the community, are thrilled to be part of the team working to get this established.
It is so gratifying to be able to help others live well with Parkinson’s, or, at the very least, to improve the quality of life they are currently experiencing. Knowledge and a good attitude can be transformative. Being an Ambassador gives me the platform to help others understand this.
Want to get to know more of our ambassadors?
Each year, our Ambassadors speak with thousands of individuals and families looking for support and community to help them live well with Parkinson’s. Ambassadors are available to speak with you through email, phone, video conference, and in-person. You can look to connect with an Ambassador in your area or reach out to anyone who you think you would connect well with, regardless of location. Learn more and connect here.