Koren Snow, Nurse Practitioner: Life started with Parkinson’s

An interview with Koren Snow, Nurse Practitioner  Life started with Parkinson’s. on January 7, 2024 by George Ackerman, Ph.D, J.D.

Biography: Please tell me a little about your background.


My name is Koren, I’m 46 and living with Parkinson’s disease. I was diagnosed at age 42.

I graduated with a Bachelor of Nursing in 2000 and continued to complete my Nurse Practitioner certification in 2004. I started working as a Nurse Practitioner in Dialysis in 2005 until medical retirement in 2023.

I’m a mother of three amazing and very active boys; Alexander (15), Benjamin (13), and William (11).

After my Parkinson’s diagnosis my life changed for the better. I eat healthier, meditate everyday, and exercise regularly, just to name a few positive changes.


Can you tell me more about your organization?


In my community there were no support groups or exercise classes for people living with Parkinson’s. I spent a lot of time finding participants, as well as getting someone with the appropriate training to teach the classes. Once the group was established in my community, it became a source of support for many people living with Parkinsons and their families.


What is your passion and how did you get involved in Parkinson’s awareness and hope for a cure?



My passion began the day of diagnosis. Parkinson’s is an invisible disease, and many people don’t understand that. It’s a disease that may not look like much to some people, but if you’ve got it, you had better believe it is something indeed. There is no doubt that the physical and emotional challenges have changed my life.


What type of goals do individuals with Parkinson’s have when working with you?


The main goal of the group is for social support and to slow progression of the disease through movement. But the group has also become like a family.


What type of training and how long are the programs?


We run two classes per week for 1.5 hours. There is a mixture of cardiovascular activity, balance training, hand eye coordination work, and cognitively demanding tasks.


What effect can it have on an individual with Parkinson’s?


Here are a few testimonials from some of the group members:

I Am an 81-year-old widow with Parkinsons Disease. Joining the Parkinson’s exercise class has been a tremendous help not only physically and mentally but socially. It has helped with my daily life giving me confidence of mobility and coordination and making it fun.

My father has had Parkinson’s for over 25 years, watching how this class has made a difference in his life has been truly inspiring.

I have been attending the Parkinson’s classes for 7 months. I find that the exercising does wonders for me my movement ability as improved big time. The social part is excellent, everyone as a positive attitude.

I feel motivated during and after the class. The program is physically and mentally balanced. I look forward to the classes.

I wanted to let you know how our Exercise class has benefited me.

  1. My joints have improved immensely.
  2. I don’t get migraines like I used to.
  3. My speech has improved by social interaction.
  4. My movements have improved.
  5. My overall mood has improved.
  6. My overall health has improved.

What would you like to see as a future goal for your programs?


Nathan is a Kinesiologist and occupational therapy student who has a lot of experience working with individuals with Parkinson’s. My hope is that the programs will be offered virtually across Newfoundland.


What events do you participate in?


I fundraised for the Michael J. Fox Foundation. I fundraised and organized a walk for the World Parkinson’s Foundation. I recently fundraised for the Parkinson’s Society of NL. I have also done radio interviews, podcasts with YOPD network, and just finished my third article for the Parkinson’s Society of NL newsletter.


How does this also assist the caregivers?


The caregivers attend the classes and are a very important part of the group. We encourage the caregiver’s participation, and they are included in everything we do.


How can someone get in touch?  What is your website?


My contact is


How can others also become advocates for awareness?


 I believe being an advocate or not comes naturally.


In your opinion what is the key to effective advocacy? 


In my opinion, the key to effective advocacy is being vulnerable, honest, realistic, and keeping it real with people.


How can we better fundraise to support a cure for Parkinson’s?


We can help do this by continuing to raise awareness for Parkinsons, so the public has a better understanding of the disease. This could help develop more empathy and compassion for Parkinson’s and encourage others support.


What other activities do you undertake to help improve and support your daily living Eg exercise and alternative remedies?


I meditate everyday, exercise, and try to obtain adequate sleep. I make a list of grateful things every morning, and I do my best to stay mindful and focused. I carry a stone that is rough on one side and smooth on the other. I rub the stone to remind me things are not always rough, and that there is always something to be thankful for. I am also an avid hiker, but I’ve underwent three back surgeries, and right now I am limited to walking. But this has given me a lot of time to work on my hand eye coordination! I always do my best to focus on the body parts that are working.

Why should people who don’t have Parkinson’s care about this? 


Chronic illness is one of the greatest teachers and awakeners, and anyone can be affected by a chronic illness. The struggles and hardships give opportunities to grow and realize life is a gift to cherish and be grateful for.


Have you had any family members or relatives affected by Parkinson’s disease?


Like most chronic illnesses, Parkinson’s disease looks different every day. One day I might feel more fatigued, whereas another day I realize I am not moving as slowly as the previous week. There are constant ups and downs, and the symptoms are not always obvious. However, just because there are times when people can’t see your struggle, that doesn’t mean you’re not still feeling pain, uncomfortable symptoms, and trying to navigate the waves daily. So, it must have a major impact on loved ones.


If you had one song that would tell us more about you or represent your life which song would it be?


If I had to pick a song it would be “Gonna be ok” by Brent Morgan. I believe you must love yourself and be your own best friend

If you had one final statement or quote you could leave for the Parkinson’s community, what would it be?


No matter how happy someone may seem, they have moments when they question if they can go on. No matter how confident someone may look, there are times when they feel unsure and insecure. And no matter how strong someone may appear; they have days when they feel like they’re falling apart. Never think for a moment you’re alone with your struggles. My advice to anyone with this disease is to not isolate yourself, exercise, and find a support network. My philosophy is not to wait for things to get easier, simpler, or better, because life will always be complicated. Learn to be happy right now, otherwise you’ll run out of time.