Tamara Boaden from Passion for Parkinson’s

An interview with Tamra Boaden from Passion for Parkinson’s on July 5, 2023 by George Ackerman, Ph.D, J.D.




Our Foundation sources, implements and funds free exercise programs for those living with Parkinson’s Disease. We have no paid employees, and our Board is actively involved in programs, fundraising and governance. We started as friends just fundraising for Parkinson’s and soon discovered that there was a big need for Free arts and exercise programs in our community. So, we formed PFPF and started fundraising to provide free programs to support those living with PD.


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


My husband has Parkinson’s and I live with this disease every day. I know how much exercise benefits people with PD both physically and emotionally and research supports my belief. I wanted to help those with Parkinson’s, there is strength in numbers, and we needed to work together.


Passion for Parkinson’s Foundation

The Passion for Parkinson’s Foundation sources, implements, and funds creative arts and exercise programs for people living with Parkinson’s Disease. The Foundation aligns with community partners and certified instructors, and delivers free arts and exercise programs that help manage the physical, cognitive, and social conditions associated with PD.


Can you tell me more about your advocacy?


We are building a strong Parkinson’s community where everyone is accepted and feels safe to exercise and socialize. This has been like a snowball – we have gathered a huge following in the past few years and now partner and collaborate with organizations in Ontario and across Canada to share ideas, expertise, and best practices.


What programs do you offer?


It still amazes me that together we have been able to accomplish so much in just 2 short years. We now offer 7 free programs and serve 152 participants weekly. Programs include Parkinson’s Group Exercise, Dancing with Parkinson’s, Boxing, Urban Pole Walking, Cycling and Golf. Over 4000 volunteer hours supporting our Parkinson’s Community in the past year alone.




There are over 40,000 people with Parkinson Disease in Ontario. The Passion For Parkinson’s Foundation is committed to funding essential programs that make a positive impact in their lives.


Next to medication, exercise is the most beneficial therapy for managing this disease. Research shows that various forms of tailored exercise or art forms can improve gait, balance, tremor, flex-ability, grip strength, cognition and overall motor coordination and sense of well-being. People living with Parkinson’s rate physical activity programs (73%), as services that would be most helpful to them. Art therapy has been demonstrated to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and improve dexterity in people living with Parkinson’s Disease.


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


Most participants are looking to improve their PD symptoms, and many are looking for a PD community. One of our Parkinson’s participants just started a new support group. He is also our ambassador and is putting together a program to build awareness. We have been around for 2 years so this is our next step, expanding our reach and heightening awareness.


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


We try to get them out to join our programs or our Out and About events, getting out of isolation is key. Our participants have forged friendships outside of our programs and we are thrilled to witness them sharing, collaborating, and supporting each other.


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


We are looking forward to working together with heath care providers to identify new and ongoing program needs and community partners to bring more awareness to PD.


What events do you participate in?


We participated on April 11th in the World Sit – to Stand campaign to bring awareness to PD. We also organized our own “Light up Canada in Red Event” (the color representing PD) and are thrilled that more than 45 buildings across Canada lit up in Red.


How does this also assist the caregivers?


We have 2 Caregivers Coffee and Friendship events every month where people come together and share their experiences, hopes, fears and support.


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? 


Keep moving Forward! The Passion For Parkinson’s Foundation is here to help.



More on PD




Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disease of the brain, a movement disorder.  PD affects an area of the brain that produces an important chemical messenger called dopamine. Dopamine sends messages to the areas of the brain that control and co-ordinate movement.  In PD the cells that create dopamine slowly die off thereby progressively impairing the body’s ability to move. Over time, as increasing numbers of nerve cells die, symptoms become more extreme.


Common motor symptoms can include:


  • Tremor
  • Joint Stiffness
  • Bradykinesia (abnormal slowness of movement)
  • Postural instability


Other non-motor symptoms can include:


  • Digestive problems
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Cognitive impairment/dementia
  • Depression


While much progress has been made in the treatment of Parkinson’s, currently there is no known cure. Drug treatment, surgical interventions, therapeutic and recreational options are available to help mitigate the symptoms and health impacts associated with Parkinson’s.