Meet the Leaders of The Victory Summit® Virtual Event: YOPD

YOPD feature

Very often, the emotional, social, physical, and psychological needs of those diagnosed with YOPD are different from those diagnosed at an older age. You might be soaring in your career, expecting a baby, raising multiple school-age children at home, and/or getting ready to buy your first house. These are different concerns than those who are diagnosed much later in life have. That’s why we want to shine a spotlight on YOPD. We want you to have the education, resources, and support you need to live well with Parkinson’s no matter your age.

During The Victory Summit® Virtual Event: YOPD, you will learn from and interact with Parkinson’s experts and people living with YOPD on a wide range of topics that are unique to your situation. From the biology and etiology of YOPD to treatments, reinvention, exercise, and more, you’ll leave with a concrete plan on how to live well with Parkinson’s for many years to come.

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

Amy Montemarano: Welcome and moderator of “Reinvention of Self”

Amy was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at age 48. Through the strong medical and support networks for people with Parkinson’s in the Philadelphia area, Amy learned how to rely on exercise, stress management, and other wellness tools to help her live well with her diagnosis. Amy believes that living well with Parkinson’s means not giving up your enjoyment of life and fully engaging with the world in a way that uses your own special purpose and energy to its highest potential. Finding purpose and meaning in her own life post-diagnosis led Amy to help people with Parkinson’s and their care partners navigate employment, as well as find volunteer work or creative projects to discover their own personal adventures. For Amy, choosing to become a Davis Phinney Foundation Ambassador helps her to spread the message that it is possible to live well with Parkinson’s to even more people.  

Learn more about Amy here. 

Davis Phinney: “Every Victory Counts®” 

Davis Phinney was fresh off a successful professional cycling career, where he won an Olympic bronze medal in 1984 and was part of the first American team to race in the Tour de France, when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. He founded the Davis Phinney Foundation in 2004 with the goal of helping people living with Parkinson’s to improve their quality of life through education, inspiration, resources, and effective self-care. Davis’ perseverance, coupled with his infectious positive attitude and dedication, inspires the work of the Davis Phinney Foundation and has earned him the reputation as a tireless advocate and mentor for others living with Parkinson’s. In spring 2015, he was honored at the White House as a Champion of Change because of his work in the Parkinson’s community.  

Learn more about Davis here 

Polly Dawkins: “Every Victory Counts®” 

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. 

Learn more about Polly here.

Pamela Quinn: “Hindsight is 20/20: Thoughts from an Old, Young Onset”

Pamela Quinn danced professionally for twenty years and has lived with Parkinson’s for more than 25. Her personal experience of Parkinson’s along with her keen knowledge of the body that stems from her professional dance training allow her to analyze movement problems and create solutions to help manage them.  She developed PD Movement Lab, a functional dance class for people with Parkinson’s, which she teaches regularly at Dance for PD® in Brooklyn, for Northwell’s PD program at the JCC Manhattan, and at conferences around the world.

Most notable engagements include CBS Evening News, four World Parkinson Congresses, Japan’s 2nd Parkinson Congress, being featured in Jon Palfreman’s book Brainstorms, and coaching Christopher Walken for his role in the movie A Late Quartet. Her choreography was featured in the opening night ceremony of the 2019 World Parkinson Congress in Kyoto, won the 2010 video competition of the WPC, and received a dance magazine award the same year. In 2019 she received a prestigious fellowship from Dance/USA for the social impact of her artistic work. She has been published twice in Neurology Now and in Dance Magazine and she has presented at many universities, with regular engagements at Tufts University, Brown, NYU and Rutgers. You can learn more about her approach to PD, her classes, her blog and PD outlier interviews on her website, Pam lives in New York City with her husband and two boys.  

Learn more about Pamela here.

Rodolfo Savica: “YOPD: Biology, Treatments, and Living Well Today”

Dr. Savica is an Associate Professor of Neurology, practicing neurologist, and Movement Disorder and Behavior Specialist at the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, MN. Dr. Savica has a particular interest in early onset Parkinson’s and the initiatives of the Mayo Clinic Rochester regarding the clinical practice and research on early onset Parkinson’s. He is involved in patient education and scientific advancements. He is the chair of the International Movement Disorders Society Task Force on early onset Parkinson’s, and he leads a lab with the goals of finding a cure and improving quality of life for people with Parkinson’s. He likes to spend his time with his amazing wife and lovely daughter, and he is a well-established martial artist.  

Learn more about Dr. Savica here.

Jackie Hanson: “Music and movement”

Jackie joined the Davis Phinney Foundation in January 2021. In addition to her work at the Foundation, Jackie is a board certified music therapist and music educator with a master’s degree in music therapy. She loves incorporating music where she can to help people with Parkinson’s live well. In her spare time Jackie can be found eating pizza, hiking with her dog Bingley, tickling the ivories, or finding a new favorite coffee shop. 

Learn more about Jackie here.

Allan Cole: “Meaning, Mindset, and Purpose”

Allan was diagnosed with YOPD in 2016, at age 48. Since then, he has devoted significant time and energy to raising awareness, providing education, fundraising, and writing about his own experiences of living with Parkinson’s. Allan is a professor and the academic dean in the Steve Hicks School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin, and a Professor of Psychiatry in the Dell Medical School. An avid writer, he has published ten books and dozens of articles on a range of topics related to bereavement, anxiety, and spirituality. He’s also an avid runner who believes exercise is one of the most essential keys to living well with Parkinson’s.  

Learn more about Allan here.

Luke Waaler: “Reinvention of Self”

Luke was diagnosed with YOPD in 2016 at age 48. After researching resources for support, he found the Davis Phinney Foundation. Working in Boulder, CO, at the time, he walked down to the Foundation’s office and was greeted by John Dean, a speech-language pathologist who specializes in Parkinson’s. John dropped what he was doing to talk with Luke about his new diagnosis and provide him with resources. Recalling the encounter with John that day, Luke knows that John gave him exactly what he needed at the time: hope. In 2019, Luke, his wife Jennifer, and their three cats moved from Colorado to Charlotte, NC, for a new job with Collins Aerospace. As a senior user experience designer, Luke works to make software easier to use, designing apps that help airlines avoid delays and cancelations. When he’s not designing products or volunteering, you’ll find him playing softball, spinning, boxing, and exploring the Carolinas with Jennifer. 

Amy Carlson: “How to Live Well with YOPD”

Amy is a Davis Phinney Foundation Ambassador and has been living with Parkinson’s since 2012. She says that Parkinson’s has changed her life, but perhaps not in the way that most people would expect. She believes that Parkinson’s has saved her life, changing her in ways that she would have never anticipated. Her life has become slower, more deliberate, and more immediate. Amy finds joy in simple experiences and has come to realize that everyone has their own unique journey in life. The challenge is to find meaning in this life. 

Learn more about Amy here.

Connie Carpenter Phinney: “Closing” 

Connie Carpenter Phinney

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.  

Learn more about Connie here.

Register for the event

The Victory Summit Virtual Event: YOPD 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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