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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

World Parkinson Congress - Opening Day

Our trip to the World Parkinson Congress was almost complete. We only had a short drive to get there, so we stopped to see the famous Multnomah Falls, which is just 30 miles east of Portland, Oregon. This scenic waterfall is visible from I-84, a main east-west highway. In fact, there is a parking area between the east and westbound lanes so you can stop and walk under the highway to get a close up look. We took a few photos and a selfie or two and then drove to our hotel. 

It was early for check-in, but they had one room ready, so we parked in the garage and took our stuff to the room. Then we walked the block and a half to the Convention Center to pick up our name tags at the registration table and pick up our WPC satchels full of goodies. 

We were headed back outside to find a restaurant when a WPC volunteer offered us each a box lunch from a table stacked high with them. We told her we were NOT part of the pre-congress seminars, and that we had just checked in. She said, go ahead and eat. It was after 2pm and we were hungry, so we sat outside and ate.  

After lunch (which was yummy) we went to find the Poster Session area and hung my poster display. 
YumaBev with her Poster display

We tried to get the general layout of the place; where the sponsor/exhibitors were, where the big events would take place, and most importantly, where the restrooms were. As we were wandering around, I saw Michelle Haub from Kansas. We'd met at a Davis Phinney Victory Summit a while back. Several people came up to me and asked if I was YumaBev. Most had read this blog or my Parkinson's Humor book and recognized me from the photos. It was great meeting them and giving and getting hugs.

By this time, my shoulder was hurting from carrying the satchel. It must have weighed at least 4 pounds. 
WPC goody bag

We walked back over to the hotel, and took a quick nap. Then we changed into dressier clothes and walked back over for the WPC Buddy Reception. My Las Vegas friend Kip was one of the Buddy Program coordinators and he was there with his wife Kitty. I never did meet my assigned Buddy; she had other plans that evening.

I did, however, FINALLY get to meet Karyn in person. Karyn lives in Australia and is the chat room friend who convinced me to start this blog! Karyn started a Young Onset PD group in Australia called Young @ Park, blogged about her DBS surgery and is active in the PD community.
Karyn from Australia and YumaBev

It was wonderful to see her and get to talk in person. Also there was my Buddy from the Montreal WPC, Nancy. Karyn's Buddy, Robynn was there, also. We all had been emailing each other for several months, so we had a great time visiting with each other.

Next thing we knew, it was time to go to the Opening Ceremony. Karyn sat with us. The WPC Choir sang (they rehearsed online!) and then there was the opening speeches and welcome to Portland video from the Mayor. Brian Grant, a former NBA basketball player, who has Parkinson's spoke. Then Muhammad Ali's eldest daughter, Maryum spoke. 

Then we all moved to the Sponsor Exhibit hall for the Welcome Reception. Almost every exhibitor had either food or beverages of some sort. There were egg rolls, sandwiches, smoothies, and desserts. We ran into others I knew online, checked out the exhibits and snacked. Soon it was over and we walked back to our hotel.

It was a fabulous day, but I was exhausted and went right to sleep.

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