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A letter to the JUNIPER community from our Chief Community Officer
and Care Coach Maura Horton

Participating in Awareness

Care Coach Maura Horton Reflects on Awareness Months

_CARE / Care Coach Letter

Do you celebrate an awareness month? April is Parkinson's Awareness Month, and the truth is I was unaware this was something to be a part of or that this recognized month even existed. I was familiar with other awareness events such as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the ultimate pink ribbon event, and numerous Alzheimer's fundraising events.

I had competed in races, walked for treatments, attended galas, bid at auctions, and volunteered at art exhibits. I had participated in ways that were hopeful and helpful but without a true sense of urgency.

That changed for myself and my family in 2005 with my husband's Early Onset Parkinson's Disease diagnosis. A loud clock began to tick; every year passing was like a booming gong being struck, and I was more aware than ever of the purpose, the cause, and the true meaning of a race to a cure. Better resources, medicines, and a cure became our family's ultimate passion and, mission.

Regardless of what awareness month resonates for you and your family, there is a common bond. It's a time when we feel connected and united with one other. It's a month when we feel hope and understanding. It's often 30 days of education from diagnosis signs and new research to tips and tricks on living better and management ideas.

It's a month you learn, grow and connect daily. It's a time for galas and fundraisers. But it is also a time in which it is genuinely more important where the funds will go in serving the community than the meal that's being served. It's a month where the loneliness seems a bit less and that you are not walking alone.

It's a month when you can wear a single color, and knowing people understand a little more about or have more insight into you. At times a stranger can nod their head, and you feel their support and kindness. It's a time when caregivers often come together and have a renewed sense of purpose, love, and passion. It's a time when medical professionals might take a few extra moments with you to salute and honor those who are on the frontlines. In reciprocation, it's a time when we recognize the same medical professionals who take our stories and worries home with them.

However, it is about more than only awareness; it's about being recognized and acknowledged. The community provides a sense of value and support. No one should feel like they are in this alone. Even during a pandemic and a socially distanced-touchless world, can we still touch each other's lives? Of course, let's continue to validate one another! Embrace the warmth, compassionate care, empathy, and continue to listen with hope, excitement, and resolve. Lastly, let's recognize and acknowledge as many awareness months as possible because they matter. We all matter!

Reach me at carecoach@juniperunltd.com and let us know

Please share your adventures with us at share@juniperunltd.com
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