The Freddy Powers Parkinson Organization

On July 4, a team of international climbers summited the 11,249-foot-high Mount Hood in Oregon and planted a flag in honor of the Freddy Powers Parkinson Organization at its peak. Calling themselves "the Regulars," the group has set out to climb 10 mountains in 10 years to raise money and awareness for both Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.

The Regulars are but one of many projects that the FPPO has teamed with since Freddy and Catherine officially founded the organization in April 2006. Over the past two years, the nonprofit has raised more than $200,000 through benefit shows with Powers and hosts of friends such as Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, and Big & Rich.

"We want to be a resource not just for the patients but the caregivers, health-care partners, and on the research and awareness ends of it," says Catherine. "Parkinson's has always primarily been looked upon as a disease that affected the elderly and pretty much in agricultural areas. Now it is becoming an inner-city disease and hitting people as young as 13 years old. We really want to bring attention to that. We have several musicians right here in Austin under the age of 50 with Parkinson's."

Perhaps the organization's greatest achievement has been through its support of treatment research. In 2005, Powers began undergoing an experimental treatment for his Parkinson's with local neurologist Dr. Robert Izor. Employing a Dynatron STS machine, electronic stimulation was applied at acupuncture points, affecting not only the standard treatment of muscular and circulatory systems but the nervous system as well.

"He had become very slow with movement. His left arm and hand had become so cramped and rigid he lost his ability to play his guitar completely," Catherine says. "His eyes had become glazed and despondent, and he had lost facial expression. But within 10 days of beginning the first treatment, Freddy had made a complete turnaround. We came home, he was moving faster, eyes had cleared up, and he was smiling again. He is able to play his guitar some, not the guitar player he is so noted for, but enough to help him with his songwriting."

For more information on the FPPO, visit www.freddypowersparkinsonorganization.org.

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