Video: Creating Connections with the Parkinson’s Community, One Sidekick at a Time

Often, the most visible effects of Parkinson’s disease are movement-related symptoms, such as tremor, balance problems and difficulty walking, but many people with Parkinson’s also experience emotional effects, including depression.1 Taken together, the effects of Parkinson’s can impact the activities of daily living, and some people may develop a feeling of isolation if they are spending less time with friends and loved ones.

A unique program from Lundbeck and the Davis Phinney Foundation is working to address this and foster more social connectedness among people with Parkinson’s. In 2018, we launched “Sidekicks™: Uniting Youth and People with Parkinson’s.” Offered in collaboration with leading Parkinson’s organizations, this intergenerational program brings together adults with Parkinson's and school-aged youth to share their stories in fun and creative ways.

During a series of interactive sessions, the youth participants learn about Parkinson's and build meaningful connections with people living with Parkinson’s. Together, the youth and people with Parkinson’s collaborate on activities like handprint art and imaginative ideascapes. Last year, Sidekicks brought together more than 100 youth and people with Parkinson’s through five pilot programs held in cities across the country. The program was so well received, it is expanding to 10 communities this year.

Mardel, a person with Parkinson’s who recently participated in a Denver program, told us: “Even though I am very involved in the Parkinson’s community, I can still feel very lonely. I did not realize how much of an impact being around my Sidekick Kyla would have or how uplifting this experience would be. I have lost confidence with Parkinson’s, but this experience boosted it.”

Watch the video below to learn more about Sidekicks and the impact it is having on participants, young and old.

Check the schedule of upcoming programs at and connect with others on our Facebook page.


[1] National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, “Parkinson’s Disease Information Page: Definition.” Accessed 4/7/19


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