Roger Halleen Co-Leader of the Central Illinois Parkinson’s Support Group

An interview with Roger Halleen Co-Leader of the Central Illinois Parkinson’s Support Group on December 19, 2023 by George Ackerman, Ph.D, J.D.




Roger Halleen 65 years of age and care partner for my wife who is has been living with Parkinson’s for about 18 years.  Leader of the Central Illinois Parkinson’s Support Group for 13 years Working with the Bloomington Parkinson’s support group.



Please tell me a little about your background and what got you involved with awareness.


My involvement started by trying to learn everything I could after my Wife’s diagnosis in January of 2008 after struggling to get a diagnosis since late 2005. She was a Physical Therapist assistant, and she had a good idea of what it meant. In June of 2010 I became involved with the Organization Parkinson’s Action Network. In 2011 I became Illinois State Director for Parkinson’s Action Network. In July of 2010 My wife and I took over running the local Parkinson’s Support Group. In 2014 I joined the Board of the American Parkinson’s Disease Association becoming President of the Midwest Chapter in 2018.


Can you tell me more about the foundation?


Central Illinois Parkinson’s Support Group has been in continued operation for over 30 years Barb, and I have lead it the last 13 years. Since taking over as group leaders the support group has grown from what was a monthly educational type meeting of about 15 people to a 501c3 organization that not only holds monthly education meeting but, runs 3 major Parkinson’s events a year, long with working with other organizations in the area to promote Parkinson’s Awareness


Our signature event is our PD Camp It is a weekend of what we call rest, relaxation with a little education and lots of fun for people with Parkinson’s and their Care Partner.  The Camp has grown in the last 6 years, since our Movement Disorder Doctor combined with the local stroke camp to see if the camp would work for people with Parkinson’s Dr. Pratt left the area after the first camp and our support group has kept it going since.


Other events our Pedal for Parkinson’s an event that combines a fundraiser educational symposium, along with some type of educational and awareness event in April for Parkinson’s awareness month


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

I started with the Parkinson’s Action Network as Illinois State Director. I’m currently President of the Illinois Chapter of the American Parkinson’s Disease Association, I work with The Micheal J Fox Foundation with the Public Policy group.


What type of goals do individuals with Parkinson’s have when working in the field?


This is really, I guess, a mixed bag of answers. The fact that we are a support Group there really is not what I would call fieldwork, however the passion that some of our members carry is unstoppable.

From starting and now running a Rock Steady boxing that sees over 70 people in 8 different Boxing classes per week Ned has been amazing. He is now not only running Boxing but working on getting a Ping Pong for Good group going. Dave, our Treasure has taken us from a Group that had to charge dues to get by to a group That can now run events like our PD Camp where the average cost per/person is around $300.00 we can charge the participants $75.00.

I give 1 – 2 programs a month on General Parkinson’s topics I also work with the Illinois Center on Aging Caring, with the connections group.


What effect can it have on Parkinson’s fighters?


Our Meeting Programs and events are built around helping those living with Parkinson’s and their care partner deal with the daily challenges of Parkinson’s.


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


To continue to build on what we have now and reach a greater number of people with Parkinson’s along with building Community awareness and understanding of Parkinson’s in the Community


What events do you participate in?


Our Support Group Events, APDA Walks, Micheal J Fox Foundation with the Public Policy programs


How can someone get in touch and sign up to help?  What is your website?


Contact Roger Halleen