Houston has been fortunate to have two Parkinson's patient support organizations offering programs and services that improve the quality of life for those who are affected. For a number of reasons, Parkinson Foundation of Harris County (PFHC), which has faithfully served Houston's Parkinson's community for the past 34 years, made a decision to discontinue operations as of March 1, 2014.
Before PFHC made that decision, representatives of the organization and Houston Area Parkinson Society met and considered merging the two organizations. The legal and accounting costs required to pursue a formal, legal merger, however, were going to be high. PFHC therefore elected to cease operations and asked HAPS to continue some of its existing programs.
Through the years, PFHC and HAPS have collaborated on events and programs that have assisted people living with Parkinson's disease. In 1997, the organizations jointly hosted a fundraising event that featured an appearance of Muhammad Ali on his 55th birthday. PFHC and HAPS were both beneficiaries of the funding raised and the support generated through that special event contributed to research, outreach and education. In 2012, the two organizations in partnership began offering an ongoing Beginner's Tango Class, providing students with the opportunity to learn to dance the tango which research has shown leads to improvements in posture, gait and mood for people living with Parkinson's.
With similar missions and long-standing histories of serving those with Parkinson's disease, PFHC and HAPS have been exploring ways to work together to ensure that programs that PFHC clients have come to depend on will remain available. In recent years, these programs have consisted of therapeutic groups, monthly luncheon seminar meetings, a monthly newsletter and a lending library.
We are pleased to announce that HAPS will carry on the PFHC legacy by taking over and continuing the majority of its therapeutic groups. In addition, HAPS will include PFHC clients and families on its mailing list so they will receive HAPS' monthly newsletter and continue to be kept up to date on trends in Parkinson's treatment, care and research, as well as be informed about local events and HAPS programs.
We remain committed to our shared goals of delivering quality services and providing critical programs that make a difference in the lives of those affected by Parkinson's disease in the greater Houston area.