Dedicated to helping people with Parkinson’s

The monthly support group for those with Parkinson’s and their caregivers is free to attend.

by Carol Leish, MA

Vanessa White, Ph.D. has been dedicated to making the lives of those affected by Parkinson’s better. Dr. White earned her Ph.D. in Sports Management/ Kinesiology, from the University of Northern Colorado. She first thought that she would become an athletic director. Her studies in kinesiology led her to teaching in the Women’s Physical Education Department in East Los Angeles, Monterey Park.

Dr. White was happy that she got to play every sport, and was a collegiate athlete in her school career. She was a swimmer and water polo player. She also played volleyball and basketball. She was a high school volleyball coach and has had over 35 years of teaching experience in physical and wellness education.

After spending many years teaching in higher education, Dr. White decided to pursue a lifelong dream of owning her own gym. She and her husband, Kevin, purchased Santa Paula Fitness in the summer of 2011. That is when Neurofitness was founded.

Dr. White said, “The reason that I got into helping people with Parkinson’s was that my mother-in-law, Judge Toy White, was diagnosed with it in 2015. By seeking out programing and education that would provide my mother-in-law with the exercise she needed, which was specific to Parkinson’s, I put together a new and unique training program that worked well. This is how Neurofitness started.

“Because of Judge Toy White having had developed Parkinson’s, I resurrected the monthly support group for people with Parkinson’s that was initially led by Patty Jenkins. Things had stopped with COVID-19 in 2020. Then, after Patty lost her husband to Parkinson’s, I restarted the group.

“By getting people with Parkinson’s involved in agility training, cardio work, and strength training, I could help them out. I also do cognitive and physical drills, which involves improving memory. Vocal work is also important since people with Parkinson’s tend to get a quiet voice.”

The monthly support group for those with Parkinson’s and their caregivers is free to attend. It meets the 3rd Tuesday of each month from 10:00-11:15am at Cross Point Church in Ventura. Their address is: 5419 Ralston Ave. Ventura, CA 93003. Dr. White said, “We alternate things in the support group by having a presenter one month, and a discussion group the next month. Speakers have included neurologists and psychologists. During the discussion, there are two groups: one of those with Parkinson’s, and the other for caregivers. Anyone interested in becoming more aware of Parkinson’s and how to help those affected, or who just want to become more informed, are welcome to attend the group,” For more info., contact Dr. White at: [email protected].

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