New Sidekicks™ Program Designed to Build Positive Connections for People with Parkinson’s and Youth through Intergenerational Storysharing

Lundbeck, the Davis Phinney Foundation and collaborating partners focus on using creativity to promote positivity and community connections

Deerfield, Ill., April 3, 2018 – The Davis Phinney Foundation and Lundbeck, in collaboration with leading Parkinson’s organizations, today announced they are kicking off Parkinson’s Awareness Month with the launch of Sidekicks™, a new program that brings together people with Parkinson’s disease and schoolaged youth to share their stories in fun and creative ways. Sidekicks is designed to help people with Parkinson’s share their experiences while fostering positive, meaningful connections with youth. Sidekicks collaborating partners include the American Parkinson Disease Association, Parkinson’s Foundation and The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

“We’re thrilled to launch Sidekicks with our partners as a new way to help people with Parkinson’s live well today,” said Polly Dawkins, executive director of the Davis Phinney Foundation. “This program harnesses the power of intergenerational relationships while capturing the life stories of people with Parkinson’s in a creative and unexpected way.”

During four highly interactive sessions, Sidekicks participants will work together to create projects like handprint art, imaginative ideascapes, and rock art that will allow them to express themselves and gain insights into one another’s experiences. The program kicks off in April 2018 for Parkinson’s Awareness Month in Chicago, Denver and Tampa and will expand to up to seven additional U.S. cities in fall 2018. 

“We strive to inspire progress in Parkinson’s through partnerships and programs that make a difference in the community,” said Lorena Di Carlo, vice president and general manager, Neurology, at Lundbeck. “There is a common feeling of isolation among people with Parkinson’s, and intergenerational programs like Sidekicks can help inspire positivity in living with Parkinson’s while creating greater understanding for youth of what it’s like to live with this condition.”

Voluntary surveys will be given to participants before and after the program to evaluate its benefits. For participating adults with Parkinson’s, the optional surveys will assess the program’s impact on their feelings of social connection, self-esteem and feelings of isolation. For participating youth, surveys will assess the program’s ability to enhance their knowledge of Parkinson’s; positively shift their attitudes towards people with Parkinson’s; and help them learn ways to practice a positive mindset, despite challenges.

To learn more, visit and join the Parkinson’s Sidekicks Facebook community at

About Parkinson’s

Approximately 50,000 Americans each year are diagnosed with Parkinson’s, a long-term and progressive brain disease associated with a loss of dopamine-producing nerve cells (neurons) deep inside the brain. Dopamine is a chemical messenger responsible for transmitting signals in the brain to produce smooth and purposeful movement, and the loss of dopamine can cause impaired movement. The average age of onset for Parkinson’s is 60 years, and the incidence rises with age; however, it is estimated up to 10 percent of people with Parkinson’s have early-onset disease that begins before age 50.

Parkinson’s is classified as a movement disorder, and the four main symptoms are tremor, rigidity, bradykinesia and postural instability.1 While the effects of Parkinson’s on movement are often the most visible symptoms, non-motor features of Parkinson’s, like emotional and cognitive challenges, can significantly affect health-related quality of life.

About Davis Phinney Foundation

The Davis Phinney Foundation was created in 2004 by Olympic medalist and retired professional cyclist, Davis Phinney, to help people with Parkinson’s live well today. As a national leader of quality of life research, the organization’s singular focus is to provide programs and resources that offer inspiration, information and tools that enable people living with Parkinson’s to take action that can immediately improve their quality of life. Through The Victory Summit® event series, Every Victory Counts® manual, Ambassador program, extensive online content and now Sidekicks™, the organization impacts hundreds of thousands of individuals each year. For more information, visit

About Lundbeck

Lundbeck is a global pharmaceutical company specialized in psychiatric and neurological disorders. For more than 70 years, we have been at the forefront of research within neuroscience. Our key areas of focus are Alzheimer's disease, depression, Parkinson's disease and schizophrenia.

An estimated 700 million people worldwide are living with psychiatric and neurological disorders and far too many suffer due to inadequate treatment, discrimination, a reduced number of working days, early retirement and other unnecessary consequences. Every day, we strive for improved treatment and a better life for people living with psychiatric and neurological disorders — we call this Progress in Mind

Our approximately 5,000 employees in 55 countries are engaged in the entire value chain throughout research, development, manufacturing, marketing and sales. Our pipeline consists of several late-stage development programs and our products are available in more than 100 countries. We have production facilities in Denmark, France and Italy. Lundbeck generated revenue of DKK 17.2 billion in 2017 (EUR 2.3 billion; USD 2.6 billion).

In the U.S., Lundbeck employs more than 800 people focused solely on accelerating therapies for brain disorders. With a special commitment to the lives of patients, families and caregivers, Lundbeck U.S. actively engages in hundreds of initiatives each year that support our patient communities. For additional information, visit and connect on Twitter at @LundbeckUS.


Gabriella Dimotsantos

Davis Phinney Foundation

Community Outreach Program Manager


Phone: (866) 358-0285 ext. 108 

Rachel Vann


Senior Manager, Public Relations


Phone: (224) 507-8401