Parkinson’s Connect: Empowering Through Mentorship

Neuro Challenge Foundation for Parkinson’s has partnered with the Parkinson’s Association of San Diego Mentor program for people with Parkinson’s and their Care Partners. The purpose of this program is to provide a supportive environment where individuals affected by Parkinson’s can connect with mentors who understand their experiences. Mentors can offer emotional support, share coping strategies, and provide encouragement, which can help mentees feel empowered and more confident in managing their condition.

Click on one of the mentors below to connect with them or if you would prefer to search for a mentor by phone, please call us at (941) 926-6413.

Carolina Murphy

Position: Mentor for People with Parkinson's
Categories: En Español, For All People with Parkinson's
Location: Sarasota

I was diagnosed with PD in 2015, a month shy of my 58th birthday. My main symptoms were stiffness, rigidity, and slowness of movement. I chose to continue working and tackled my new diagnosis with exercise and supplements. Six months later, I was in my car at a red light. When the light turned green it took what seemed like an eternity for my foot to press down on the accelerator. That day, I told Mark I was ready to start the PD meds.

In October 2015, I met a Care Advisor at the Neuro Challenge Foundation for PD. She shared info about the many FREE resources they offered. I left our meeting feeling hopeful! Mark and I immediately began attending support groups, dance classes, seminars, boxing workouts and Pedaling for Parkinson’s classes.

In 2016, I retired. For my sake and the sake of my family, it was time to do everything I could to keep my quality of life at the highest level for as long as possible. Fast forward to today, ”Team Murphy,” as I refer to our family, is 9 years into our PD Journey. We have learned that just taking the prescription medications is not enough to live a productive life with Parkinson’s.

I believe “It takes a village to navigate life with Parkinson’s”. Our Village includes: family, our PD friends, daily exercise, supplements, acupuncture treatments, massages & quiet time. Also a Spiritual connection is essential. Before I get out of bed, I thank God for the gift of another day, for the gift of my family & friends & for the GIFT of PD. Then I look in the mirror and say: PD…I’m going to kick your ASS today!
From the beginning of our PD journey, Mark and I recognized that the best way to deal with this diagnosis was with courage & a positive outlook. The last thing we wanted was for our kids to think that because life threw me a curve ball, I was going to strike out. On the days I feel sad, challenged, frustrated or angry. I remind myself: I have PD. PD doesn’t have me. PD doesn’t define me. Then I remind myself of my blessings!

Contact Carolina:


Carolina Murphy

Mentor for People with Parkinson's

I was diagnosed with PD in 2015, a month shy...

Drew Effron

Position: Mentor for People with Parkinson's and Care Partners
Categories: For All People with Parkinson's, For Care Partners
Location: Sarasota

I am very fortunate that despite having been diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2013, the disease has been progressing very slowly, and so far, has permitted me to live a relatively normal and active life. I believe that fitness and regular visits with my movement disorder doctor are the keys to keeping the disease at bay. I also keep current with research and information about Parkinson’s through sources such as NeuroChallenge, Parkinson’s Place, MJF, as well as belonging to several internet chats and Training Wheels Off, a weekly Zoom group.

As a person with Parkinson’s, committed to living my best life, I am uniquely prepared to help others who may be facing challenges living with Parkinson’s.

Contact Drew:


Drew Effron

Mentor for People with Parkinson's and Care Partners

I am very fortunate that despite having been diagnosed with...

Rick Conklin

Position: Mentor for People with Parkinson's and Newly Diagnosed
Categories: For All People with Parkinson's, For Newly Diagnosed
Location: Southwest Florida

I have been diagnosed for about 5 years. I exercise a lot! I spend about 20 hours a week at the YMCA. Most all the staff at the Englewood Y know that I have Parkinson. I recently passed my Group Fitness Instructor certificate course, the Y has hired me as a part time Fitness instructor, I have been team teaching the Parkinson Exercise class in Englewood for almost a year. Often the staff will bring members with Parkinson to me so we can talk.

Contact Rick:



Rick Conklin

Mentor for People with Parkinson's and Newly Diagnosed

I have been diagnosed for about 5 years. I exercise...

Roger Tregelles

Position: Mentor for Newly Diagnosed
Categories: For Newly Diagnosed
Location: Sarasota

I was officially diagnosed with PD way back in June of 2017. I remember vividly at first being in total shock and feeling that I was given a death sentence in a sense. However, thanks to the support of my wife, my friends and medical team I soon discovered through my passionate research and being inquisitive that one can still enjoy a good life life after diagnosis. After neglecting my physical health for many years, I now found a definite incentive and reasons to take better care of my health by means of beneficial exercise, eating healthier and staying positive while helping others with my illness.
I wish to mentor those newly diagnosed who are in the initial shock and non acceptance phase to see this is not the end of their life but rather to see the possibilities that now lie before them and what they can do to greatly improve the quality of their life now and going forward.

Contact Roger:


Roger Tregelles

Mentor for Newly Diagnosed

I was officially diagnosed with PD way back in June...


The Mentor Program is generously supported by: