Meet the Leaders of The Victory Summit® Virtual Event: Care Partners

Featured Image Meet the Leaders Care Partners

Whether you have just begun caring for someone who has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, are dealing with a substantial progression of symptoms, or you’ve been caring for someone who has had Parkinson’s for a long time, a strong support network is critical to your own well-being.

The truth is unless you’re a medical professional who has been caring for people as your life’s work, having to step into the role of care partner is a big change and often a significant stressor. And it can take its toll on you – physically, emotionally, spiritually, and otherwise. This can lead to caregiver burnout or in its extreme, compassion fatigue, where you become overwhelmed physically, emotionally, spiritually, and socially to the point where you’re unable to care for yourself or others.

During The Victory Summit® Virtual Event: Care Partners on Saturday, November 13, 2021, from 9 - 1:20 pm MST, you will learn from and interact with Parkinson’s care partner experts, Parkinson’s care partners, and mental wellness professionals who will help you become the care partner your person with Parkinson’s needs without burning out, losing yourself, and losing the joy of life. By the end you will have a whole new community of support at your fingertips and a toolbox of practices that will help you thrive as a Parkinson’s care partner.

Read on for a close-up look at the event’s speakers.  

Polly Dawkins: "welcome and agenda" 

Polly joined the Davis Phinney Foundation as the Executive Director in 2011. Polly’s track record managing and growing organizations responsibly and with transparency for over 25 years dovetails with her humanitarian worldview. She is committed to making wise use of the Foundation’s resources, enabling it to extend its reach while staying true to its mission. Polly is passionate about helping people with Parkinson’s thrive by providing education and connection to community and funding quality of life research that take the guess work out of living well. Polly holds an MBA in International Business from Thunderbird School of Global Management and a BA in International Studies from Earlham College. When Polly isn’t behind her desk or traveling to Parkinson’s communities around the world, you’ll find her creating music lists for her indoor cycling classes, exploring Colorado on her road bike, swimming laps outside, and hosting family and friends from around the world. She’s powered by sunshine, though, so you might also find her lying on a rock soaking up the sun like a lizard. 

connie carpenter Phinney: "Lessons i've learned" and "Care partner Q & A"

Connie Carpenter Phinney is an entrepreneur, author, artist, and lifelong athlete, and is extremely passionate about her work as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Davis Phinney Foundation. She particularly enjoys sharing her experiences through the written word and as an eloquent and humorous public speaker. Connie has a MS in exercise science from the University of Colorado and completed her BS at the University of California, Berkeley. She has two adult children, Taylor and Kelsey, with her husband, Davis Phinney.

Jessica shurer: "mood and mental health strategies for care partners"

Jessica Shurer, MSW, LCSW, is the Director of Patient and Care Partner Advocacy of CurePSP, whose mission and services are dedicated to the awareness, education, care, and cure of atypical Parkinsonism diseases — progressive supranuclear palsy, corticobasal degeneration, and multiple system atrophy. Prior to joining the team at CurePSP in October 2021, Jessica served as the Center Coordinator and Clinical Social Worker of the Movement Disorders Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence and CurePSP Center of Care. She had been in this previous position since graduating from UNC Chapel Hill with her Master of Social Work in 2012. Her clinical and research interests include the psychosocial needs of navigating neurodegenerative disease, integrated healthcare models, and palliative and end-of-life care.

marygail anderson: "care partner panel"

MaryGail Anderson was care partner to her father for nine years. After 14 years as a Registered Respiratory Therapist/ ECMO Specialist with Vanderbilt Medical Center, she began a Respiratory Rehab Program for NHC (rehab and LTC facility) after she noticed that her father only received the care that he truly needed when she was there, for no one else seemed to understand the complexities of his Parkinson’s and nOH. Care for her father started at home, and as his Parkinson’s progressed, MaryGail and her family worked with him on transitions through independent living, assisted living, memory care, and long-term care. Then, to ensure he received the constant and consistent care he needed, MaryGail moved him back home and took care of him there with the aid of hired caregivers whom she trained. In addition to her other work, MaryGail is part of an advocacy board for the Parkinson’s/nOH community via Lundbeck Pharmaceuticals.

barb ankenman: "care partner panel" and "how do we step away from parkinson's?"

A retired business executive, Barbara is the loving care partner of her husband, Dale. Dale was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2003 at the age of 46. Since that time, they have continued to enjoy life together, facing the highs and lows of Parkinson’s as a team.


john paul lederach: "care partner panel"

John Paul Lederach is Senior Fellow at Humanity United and Professor Emeritus of International Peacebuilding at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. He works extensively as a practitioner in conciliation processes, active in Latin America, Africa, Southeast and Central Asia. He is widely known for the development of culturally appropriate approaches to conflict transformation and the design and implementation of integrative and strategic approaches to peacebuilding. He served as the director of the Peace Accord Matrix research initiative at the Kroc Institute and is active as a member of the Advisory Council for the recently formed Truth Commission in Colombia. He is author and editor of 24 books and manuals, including Building Peace: Sustainable Reconciliation in Divided Societies (US Institute of Peace Press) and The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building Peace (Oxford University Press).

Angela robb: "care partner panel"

Angela Robb is a 25-year wife and care partner for her husband, Karl, who was diagnosed with young onset Parkinson’s more than 30 years ago. She and Karl co-authored the book Dealing and Healing with Parkinson’s Disease and Other Health Conditions: A Workbook for Body, Mind, and Spirit. She is a co-editor at, a contributor and community team member at, and a Reiki Master. Angela has advocated for caregiver issues by sharing her experiences on Capitol Hill, at various regional and national Parkinson’s conferences, and as a presenter at the World Parkinson Congress. In 2015, Angela was honored at The White House as a Champion of Change in Parkinson’s Disease.

Bud Rockhill: "care partner panel"

Bud Rockhill, MBA, a long-time Parkinson’s care partner to his mother, is an adjunct faculty member for entrepreneurship at the Colorado School of Mines and previously taught at the University of Denver. He earned his undergraduate from Lehigh University and MBA from Harvard Business School. His experience in managing growing companies has been profiled in three case studies used at Stanford Business School and Harvard. Currently, he is the Managing Partner of Traxion and has worked in the fitness industry, destination entertainment, and online education.

Juwairiya Syed: "care partner panel"

Juwairiya Syed’s father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2018 at the age of 64 and passed away this past May. In the beginning stages of her father’s journey, Juwairiya spent many hours researching symptoms of Parkinson’s and the best therapies for it, and she wrote of her experiences on the community publication Juwairiya moved to Dallas after graduating in 2017 from the University of California, Davis, and is now studying screenwriting at NYU. By writing about her and her family’s journey, she hopes to help others caring for family members with Parkinson’s.

amber crawford: "occupational therapy exercises you can do with your person with parkinson's" and "how occupational therapy can help you and your loved one live well"

Amber Crawford, COTA/L, is a graduate of Kent State University and is state licensed in Idaho and nationally Board Certified as an Occupational Therapy Assistant. Amber gained a passion for OT while working as a nursing assistant, and she continues to push herself to improve her skillset to give her clients the best possible outcomes. Amber has always connected with the geriatric population, and while in college discovered a passion for working with people living with neurocognitive deficits. At Ada Therapy Services, Amber’s primary goal is always to help her client live their best, most independent lives, whatever that may look like. She says the best part of her career is the diversity of the people she gets to work with. Amber lives in Idaho with her husband, daughter, grandparents, and three pets. She enjoys camping, hiking, cooking, painting, and traveling.

Judy kinney: "getting your ducks in a row"

Judy is the Executive Director of End of Life Washington (EOLWA) with a passion for end-of-life choices and to rouse, rally, and engage people to uphold essential rights. Judy has a master’s and bachelor’s in social work, with a focus on Community, Administration, and Programs. She became an end-of-life choice advocate in 2012 through her work as the Executive Director of North East Seattle Together (NEST), Seattle’s first virtual retirement village, and has continued to prioritize end-of-life choices in her work ever since.

Pat Donahoo: "care partner Q & A"

Pat Donahoo’s wife, Cidney, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2010 at the age of 47 after a four-year journey to a diagnosis. Cidney came across the Davis Phinney Foundation as she was researching Parkinson’s, and together she and Pat actively embraced the Foundation’s philosophy of living well today. Pat notes the benefits living well has brought to each of them, saying: “It’s kept us both off the couch and has built an active lifestyle we both follow.” Pat and Cidney work together with the Parkinson’s community in Las Vegas to spread the message that it is possible to live well today with Parkinson’s.

Gail Gitin

Gail Gitin was a care partner to her husband, Gene, for more than 15 years. After many attempts to get answers, Gene was officially diagnosed with Parkinson’s by a movement disorder specialist, and he and Gail began their journey to live well with Parkinson’s. Living in Boulder helped Gail and her husband learn about and feel quickly supported by the Davis Phinney Foundation. With multiple opportunities through support groups, exercise classes, and lectures to increase understanding surrounding Parkinson’s, Gail and Gene were able to improve their quality of life and develop a positive outlook. With five grandchildren, Gail enjoys spending time with them and setting up art projects. Her perfect Sunday involves an outdoor adventure, followed by dinner at a fine restaurant and a cocktail in hand. If she’s not baking or making friends, Gail can be found at her art studio among paints and canvases!

Register for the event

The Victory Summit® Virtual Event: Care Partners goes beyond the screen. You will have the opportunity to ask questions and engage with speakers all from the comfort of your own home using a computer, tablet, or phone. Plus, you’ll meet some of our Ambassadors who are available to support you at any time. Register to join us.  

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