LUDLOW — Recently Susan Mollohan, of Derry, N.H. attended the Ludlow Rotary Club as guest speaker and spoke regarding her upcoming bicycle adventure. She will be riding the New England Parkinson’s Ride on Sept. 6, for the benefit of Parkinson’s Disease.
Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system. Symptoms of PD result in the death of dopamine-generating cells in the substantia nigra (area of the midbrain). The cause of cell deaths is unknown.
Susan Mollohan first noticed a tremor in her hand while at work as the dean of students at a high school in New Hampshire. After about four to six months of living with the tremor, the high school nurse, a friend of Mollohan’s, suggested she see a neurologist. Soon after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in March 2009, she began taking advantage of opportunities to learn more about her diagnosis and, ultimately, do something about it.
At an educational seminar at Boston University about Parkinson’s Disease, Mollohan learned about an observational clinical trial studying the impact of exercise on PD progression, that needed volunteers.
“I was motivated to participate so that researchers could publish information about the benefits of exercise for other people with PD,” said Mollohan, an avid skier and yoga devotee.
The study at Boston University lasted two years and required participants to come in for two visits each year. Participants were asked about their exercise routine, including type and frequency, and then underwent general physical assessments of their pace, balance, etc. “Participating in this trial gave me an improved outlook and attitude about my diagnosis,” said Mollohan. “People need to take control of their health questions and get out there to find answers. We have to advocate for ourselves and not give in to the diagnosis.”
Since the completion of the study, Mollohan said she’s willing to participate in another trial and has registered as a volunteer on Fox Trial Finder, The Michael J. Fox Foundation’s online clinical trials matching tool.
She also participates in yoga more now than before her diagnosis and has written a book about the positive effects of yoga on her Parkinson’s symptoms, titled “My Story.”
Susan Mollohan raises funds for Team Fox, and this year she and her husband Steven will participate for the fifth time in the annual New England Parkinson’s Ride, benefitting The Michael J. Fox Foundation. This year at the ride she’ll have her book in tow, selling it for $20, which will be donated to Parkinson’s research.
This scenic bike ride begins and ends in Old Orchard Beach, Maine, and travels through the countryside and shoreline. Mollohan has participated in past events, but this September she hopes to complete the 100 mile ride.
Mollohan’s story was very inspiring. The Ludlow Rotary Club wishes her all the best on her upcoming ride. For more information, visit www.neparkinsonsride.com.