Valya Dudycz Lupescu

Writer, fueled by coffee

Red tulips and illumination

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The red tulip is the symbol of Parkinson’s Disease.

Red Tulip by 8 Eyes Photography

From the Parkinsons.org website:

Parkinson’s disease is one of a larger group of neurological conditions called motor system disorders. Historians have found evidence of the disease as far back as 5000 B.C. It was first described as “the shaking palsy” in 1817 by British doctor James Parkinson. Because of Parkinson’s early work in identifying symptoms, the disease came to bear his name. (Read more about Parkinson’s here.)

My mother-in-law was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in January 2009. The mother of one of my dearest friends also has Parkinson’s.

If you’re like me, when someone you loves comes down with a disease, you read all you can about it. You try to find new sources of hope or healing. You want to do something to help.

The incredibly talented photographer Allan Amato‘s best friend Becky has had Parkinson’s since she was 29. Allan wanted to do something to help, and so he created a series of photos documenting young Parkinson’s sufferers. He decided to use Kickstarter to fund the project. (If you’re not familiar with Kickstarter, it’s a way for artists to secure funding for their projects and must be fully-funded or no money changes hands.)

When I heard about Allan’s project, Illuminate Parkinson’s: A Travelling Gallery Show, it struck a chord. Here was someone I admire trying to spread the word about Parkinson’s:


Allan has reached his initial goal of $8000, and he’s raised the goal to $12,000 in the next 11 days. If you can, support him. There are many lovely incentives if you do.

The Illuminate Parkinson’s Gallery show will be coming to Chicago’s Century Guild later this Autumn. I supported Allan’s project on kickstarter, and I plan to attend the show to further show my support (and to admire his incredible photography in person).

I invite you to check out Illuminate Parkinson’s on Kickstarter.org, and I’ll certainly keep you apprised of information about the gallery show.

I have been so impressed by the people who have stepped up to support Allan on Illuminate Parkinson’s: famous friends and clients who posed for photographs, spread the word, and spoke up in support.

It’s an inspiring example of the power of community: Together we can achieve so much. Together we can do something to help. Together we can Illuminate Parkinson’s!

Author: Valya

Valya Dudycz Lupescu is the author of THE SILENCE OF TREES and STICKS & BONES, as well as the founding editor of CONCLAVE: A Journal of Character. Born and raised in Chicago, Valya received her degree in English at DePaul University and her MFA in Writing as part of the inaugural class at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Since receiving her MFA, Valya has worked as a college professor, obituary writer, content manager, internal communications specialist, co-producer of an independent feature film, and Goth cocktail waitress.

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