An interview with Dr. Maria De Leon from Parkinson’s Diva & defeatparkinsons on August 9, 2023 by George Ackerman, Ph.D, J.D.
I am an art lover and a fashionista. My grandmother and my former patients drove me to advocate for those without a voice or who could no longer stand up for themselves. I honored my grandmother at 2nd world Parkinsons Congress in Scotland by making a quilt patch in her honor as part of quilt project.
Please tell me a little about your background.
My passion for neurology and Parkinson’s disease is what took me to medical, school and pursue a career in this area little did I know it would define my life in all spheres ..I diagnosed my grandmother with disease when I was doing my movement disorder fellowship and then I was diagnosed a few months after she passed away having lived with disease for more than 15 years.
Can you tell me more about your advocacy?
As a young person and Parkinson’s specialist I became aware of the deficits in knowledge and treatment and lack of communication and collaboration between different stake holders (pharma industry, clinicians, scientists, law makers and people living with the disease) especially among minorities, so I decided to change this.
What is your passion and how did you get involved in Parkinson’s awareness and hope for a cure?
My over all work is to educate and build collaborations with various stake holders to shed new light and find new solutions and treatments to the current problems but above all providing Hope and empowering patients to take control of their lives and disease.
What type of goals do individuals with Parkinson’s have seeing your advocacy?
I have three books: my Parkinsons diva is a global best seller and award winner. I am known as Parkinson’s Diva. Attitude determines altitude so let it sparkle!
I am a free-lance writer working closely with a blog for brain and life magazine. I am also an avid healthcare collaborator and research advocate and have been named finalist for my advocacy work in these areas.
What effect can your advocacy have on an individual with Parkinson’s?
I want to empower women and people with PD in general to live a better life by learning tools to advocate for themselves and make better informed decisions efficiently and effectively about their care.
What would you like to see as a future goal for your advocacy?
I also want to see greater access to medicines, doctors, and care around the globe, especially among minorities.
What events do you participate in?
I participate in local national and international events, usually as speaker both as doctor and patient expert.
World Parkinson’s Congress.
How does this also assist the caregivers?
My blogs help both patients and caregivers find answers solutions and live better with disease.
My books available at Amazon and www.thewordverve.com
How can someone get in touch? What is your website?
If you had one final statement or quote you could leave for the Parkinson’s community, what would it be?
There is still life after Parkinson’s diagnosis and can be abundantly beautiful. I encourage everyone to use their own gifts and talents and their own story to help rise above not only helping themselves but others in community.