An interview with Jeanne Quinn from the SHAKE AND FREEZE®️ Parkinson’s Campaign on September 24, 2023 by George Ackerman, Ph.D, J.D.
The SHAKE AND FREEZE®️ Parkinson’s Disease Campaign is an awareness and fundraising campaign. We incorporate costumes, giveaways, humor, music and the spirit of the Christmas/Winter Season to get attention to our cause. Our big day “SHAKE AND FREEZE”®️ Day (AKA “Shorts Day’) is a recognized published special day where we wear shorts and other festive attire on the Winter Solstice, the “short” test day of the year. Dec. 21 is also Dr. James Parkinson’s death anniversary!
Please tell me about your background.
Jeanne Quinn, is a retired occupational therapist, musician, fundraiser, former caregiver and an assistive devices specialist/PD educator, who originated “Shorts Day” in 1986 when she was an Activity Director in a nursing home (Philadelphia, PA area).
The idea of “Shorts Day” was to wear shorts at an untimely time of the year to bring holiday cheer to the residents and improve employee morale. Since then, Jeanne and her daughter tweaked the day into a PD awareness day incorporating two PD symptoms “Shaking” (tremors) and “Freezing” (temporary, involuntary inability to move).
Can you tell me more about your advocacy?
We participate in educating and bringing awareness through assistive device presentations, distributing PD literature. We also “parade” in the PA/NJ area and utilize social media (Facebook “Shake Freeze” and “Shake and Freeze”, Instagram “Shake and Freeze”) to educate and bring awareness to many topics associated with PD.
What is your passion and how did you get involved in PD awareness …
Well, after eight family members (Jeanne’s mom, dad, brother, grandmother, three great aunts/great uncle) were diagnosed with PD, we felt the need to do something! Jeanne and her husband, who also works in the medical field, built a in-law suite onto the house to take care of Jeanne’s parents who both had Parkinson’s. They were caregivers for over 13+ years while raising two small children.
What type of goals do individuals with PD have when working with you?
Educate others and spread awareness through humor for a not so funny disease.
What type of training and how long are the programs?
If you can wear shorts and like to have fun you can join in getting attention to our cause.
What effect can your advocacy have on an individual with PD?
A sense of camaraderie, fun and comfort knowing they are not alone.
What would you like to see as a future goal for your advocacy?
As our special day is getting more traction every year, we are looking forward to increased participation, funding, and sponsorship. Each year, more companies, individuals, and even fellow PD fundraisers are participating in the day! This year, in addition to regular special day published calendars, “SHAKE AND FREEZE®️” Day will be recognized in the Society for Health Care Strategy & Market Development calendar so even more people will be aware and can participate! We would love to see some Movement Disorder Specialist’s legs!
The PA House of Representatives has declared Dec. 21 “SHAKE AND FREEZE®️ Day (Shorts Day) in the Commonwealth of PA the last two years and we are anticipating that the PA Senate will be doing the same this year! We would love for this day to be recognized nationally!
Basically, our goal for everyone is to participate in one big “dress down” or dress up day. It sure would be great to see people in their holiday gear! We are hoping everyone gets in the holiday spirit AND raises some money along the way! If you live in a warmer climate, you can still participate by purchasing festive boxers online or decorating your own shorts, jams, Daisy Dukes, cut-offs with tinsel, garland, ornaments, markers etc. Why not have a shorts fashion show or shorts decoration contest?
We would love to have TWO PD Parkinson Awareness Days – World Parkinson’s Day, held on Dr. James Parkinson’s birth anniversary and “SHAKE AND FREEZE®️” Day held on his death anniversary. Alzheimer’s Association has a big fundraiser on the “longest day”. It would be great to have the top two neurological diseases associated with the two solstices!
What events do you participate in?
If you need to make the holidays more festive, we can provide holiday backdrops, blow up figures, music etc. for donations. We participate in town parades and have our own impromptu parades to get attention!
We are a Team Fox grassroots MVP fundraiser for the Michael J Fox Foundation five out of five years and have raised over $100,000! Anyone can join our Team Fox “SHAKE AND FREEZE®️” Team. Contact us at ShakeandFreeze.com.
How does your advocacy also assist the caregivers?
We are able to educate others regarding PD and caregiving due to our real-life experiences and expertise in the occupational and physical therapy fields. Jeanne’s husband is also certified in LSVT BIG which trains people with PD to use their body more normally.
How can someone get in touch?
Website: ShakeandFreeze.com. We are on FB at “Shake Freeze” (recommended) and “Shake and Freeze”. Instagram “Shake and Freeze”. Stay tuned for our own YouTube channel!
How can others also become advocates for awareness?
Since our day is an actual published day like “Ugly Sweater” Day (which is always the Friday before our day), we hope more and more people will don festive shorts or regular shorts and festive attire to recognize this special day at school, work, etc. Sharing pictures of your friends/families or even your pets in shorts on social media is helpful! Stay tuned to our social media for events.
In your opinion what is the key to effective advocacy?
“I think the scariest person in the world is the person with no sense of humor” – Michael J Fox
For those who know a caregiver, please do something to help … “The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.” – Oscar Wilde.
“No idea is a bad one”. Heck, we never knew wearing shorts in the WINTER would raise $100,000+! #Sport the Short!