|SHARE THIS ARTICLE|
In 1982, when he was just 46-years-old, Matthew T. Robinson, best known as the original “Gordon” on Sesame Street, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. The disease limited his ability to function and forced him to retire early from a career in entertainment. He was fortunate to have the emotional and financial support of his daughter, actress author and talk show host, Holly Robinson Peete and her husband, former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete.
Not all Parkinson’s patients are as fortunate as Matthew Robinson to have family care for them following their diagnosis. While she cared for her father, Holly encountered numerous patients who suffered alone, unable to afford car and without access to medications treatments and services.
Inspired by her father’s courageous battle with the disease, Holly and Rodney established the HollyRod Foundation in 1997. The organization is “dedicated to providing medical, physical and emotional support to those suffering with Parkinson’s disease.”
HollyRod partnered with the Center for Parkinson’s Research and Movement Disorders at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California to establish the Compassionate Care program with the mission to improve quality of life for people suffering from Parkinson’s. The program provides patient services including low or no-cost physician consultants, speech and swallowing evaluation and treatment, physical therapy, counseling services and ambulation aids to those who have little or no healthcare insurance and limited financial resources.
The mission of HollyRod expanded after Holly and Rodney’s eldest son, RJ, was diagnosed with autism. In support of individuals with autism, HollyRod provides resources to families affected by the diagnosis. In 2010, HollyRod introduced the “Give the Give of Voice” campaign, providing tablet computers and specially designed apps to help give a voice to those without. Fifty percent of children living with autism have extreme difficulty learning to speak and 25 percent of them never will. While these individuals may not be able to speak, they have much to say and through the “Give the Gift of Voice” campaign, they are now able to make their voices heard.
TwitChange is excited to announce an upcoming campaign with Holly Robinson Peete to benefit the HollyRod Foundation. Stay tuned for details on how you can support the foundation and enter to win a special prize package from Holly.
If you would like to support individuals and families dealing with a Parkinson’s or autism diagnosis, click here to donate now to the HollyRod Foundation.