The initial team that has come together to form the Parkinson Social Network as a nonprofit corporation is a dedicated group comprised of people with Parkinson’s disease, caregivers, and advocates.
We have been volunteering our time, and sharing our experiences and knowledge with others in the Parkinson’s community for many years. We felt it was time to form a nonprofit in order to connect people with each other in the Parkinson’s community, and provide resources and services at a more professional level than our previous volunteer-only model.
Our Board of Directors
Sonia Gow, Founder & President
Sonia Gow is an experienced patient advocate for people living with Parkinson’s and their carepartners. Since 2007, she has volunteered with the Fair Oaks Parkinson’s support group, coordinating communications, and acting as a community resource with professionals experienced in long term care. Sonia is also a fitness professional who leads Flamingos in Training, the only aquatic exercise class exclusively for people living with Parkinson’s and their carepartners in Northern Virginia.
Sonia founded the Parkinson Social Network in 2016 to establish cafes – an informal social alternative to support groups – for people touched by Parkinson’s to come together. Having observed how caring and supportive people within the Parkinson’s community are with each other, she wanted to provide an environment where people could realize that they are not alone, help each other by sharing their experiences, and empower each other to make the most of life with Parkinson’s. In 2017 she took steps to incorporate Parkinson Social Network, and reform it as a nonprofit charitable organization.
Nancy Fiedelman, Vice-President
Nancy Fiedelman, a former medical social worker, is an independent consultant and advisor to older adults and their family members. Her experience supporting a family member living with PD for 25 years enabled her to better understand the impact of making the most of life with Parkinson’s. She is a member of the Long Term Care Coordinating Council (Fairfax) as well as being involved with community non-profit organizations focused on improving the lives of older adults.
Arlene Edwards, Treasurer
Arlene Edwards retired from Capitol Hill to become a fulltime care partner for her husband who lived with Parkinson’s for almost 20 years. She worked alongside him in various exercise programs and became active with care partners when he finally consented to join a support group. After his passing, she continued working with the care partners in their support group and assists in a water exercise program designed for people with PD.
Angela Robb, Secretary
Angela Robb is wife and carepartner for her husband, Karl, who has young onset Parkinson’s disease (PD). Angela is an advocate who speaks and writes about caregiver issues. In 2015, she was honored as a White House Champion of Change in Parkinson’s Disease. She’s co-author of the workbook Dealing and Healing with Parkinson’s Disease: A Workbook for Body, Mind & Spirit.
Ruth Ann Hadley, Director
Ruth Ann Hadley retired after many years in management in health care in public health, managed care, health services research, and also managed a grant program for the Federal government. After retiring, she served as a Long Term Care Ombudsman. She was a care partner for her late husband thru his 12 year journey with Parkinson’s, a time when they stayed very busy traveling and enjoying life to the fullest. She continues to work with the PD community who were such a strong support system for her and her husband.
Karl Robb, Director
Karl Robb has lived with Parkinson’s disease (PD) for over thirty years. Since his diagnosis, he has been a Parkinson advocate, entrepreneur, inventor, writer, photographer, Reiki Master, and speaker on PD issues. Karl is the author of A Soft Voice in a Noisy World, and co-author of the workbook Dealing and Healing with Parkinson’s Disease: A Workbook for Body, Mind & Spirit. He has blogged for ten years on his award winning website, ASoftVoice.com, is a Community Team Member to ParkinsonsDisease.net, and is a contributor to PatientsLikeMe.com. Karl is a frequent speaker on Parkinson’s disease issues as well as an experienced advocate for Parkinson’s issues throughout the United States.