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Day One: The Parkinson's Prison

(and the Hero's Journey to escape!)

"I'm a prisoner in my own body," Muhammad Ali

The stories we tell ourselves shape our reality, including how we feel about Parkinson’s disease, whether we are conscious of them or not.   

The feeling of being trapped, stuck and isolated are commonly reported by people with Parkinson's. Dr. Ray Dorsey, author of Ending Parkinson’s Disease, says the PD community needs to speak up. 

In this powerful new evidence-based class, developed in a PhD study, people with, affected by and serving the  PD community, will explore, write and share their stories from the perspective of feeling imprisoned by PD. We will use Joseph Campbell's Hero’s Journey and The Shawshank Redemption to guide us in a 16-week online program. What stories are keeping you locked in? 

 Click the pdf icon below for more program information and the Sign Up button to join us for the next session in January 2024. 

Full course

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We are seeking sponsors to allow writers in the PD community who don't have the funds to participate. Click on the above pdf for details.

Need help with your tuition?

Please don't let the cost of the program keep you from signing up. Click on the pdf (to the left) to learn how you can fundraise to earn your tuition.



Sponsorship document

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The Hero's Journey

Joseph Campbell is the researcher and academic who adventured into our world's mythology, crossing cultures, geographies, religions, and historical periods, dating back to Neanderthals drawing on cave walls, to bring the Hero's Journey to light. This 12-step version is a modified interpretation with credit due to author, Christopher Vogler ("The Writer's Journey"). This model was the backbone of the Day One curriculum, providing structure to help guide people with PD and a caregiver through their own heroic journey of what it means to have PD. Participants also watched clips from Star Wars: A New Hope and Boys of Summer: First Base to see heroic journeys in action. Robert and Susan break down the steps of the hero's journey in the videos in the panel above.

Day One: PD Superheroes origin story

Day One: PD Superheroes began as a nearly thrown-away idea in a grant writing class in Robert's second semester as a PhD student in the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences program at UNLV. Thankfully, Robert's fellow student turned Mentor, Dustin Davis, saw enough in it to keep asking questions and encourage Robert to continue. Robert proposed a novel, online intervention that aimed to improve quality of life measures for people with Parkinson's. He received a grant from the Parkinson's Foundation and approval from UNLV's IRB board. The six-month pilot feasibility study ran from October 2020 to April 2021, with 16 participants from across the US and UK. The qualitative feedback was excellent, with all participants requesting a continuance and expansion of the program. Nine of the 16 participants continued to become mentors for the second cohort, which began its hero's journey in May 2022. Once again, participant feedback was excellent. Results are being written up into a study with intent to publish as a peer-reviewed article. Please click on the videos below for interviews with participants from the first two studies. 

If you would like to be considered for future programs, please email Robert here