Healthy Parkinson’s Community™ Leader Highlight: Sabela Avión Martínez

8 April 2024

Written by the Davis Phinney Foundation’s Community Engagement Team 

The Davis Phinney Foundation Community Engagement team’s goal is to support the Parkinson’s community by providing educational resources and facilitating connections to our exceptional team of Healthy Parkinson’s Community™ (HPC) leaders and Ambassadors.

During Parkinson’s Awareness Month, the Community Engagement team is excited to highlight Sabela Avión Martínez: a bilingual Davis Phinney Foundation Ambassador and advocate for women living with young onset Parkinson’s disease (YOPD) in her town of Long Island, New York, and in Barcelona, Spain. Sabela, originally from Spain, is a United Nations Spanish translator in New York.

MEET SABELA AVIÓn Martínez 

Sabela’s advocacy and activism focuses on connecting people with Parkinson’s, promoting gender-specific research, and increasing diversity, inclusion, and outreach to help improve the life for those with Parkinson’s–especially women. She is the co-founder of Con P de Párkinson (“With P for Parkinson’s”). Her passion for representing and educating underserved and underrepresented communities inspires her work as Davis Phinney Foundation Ambassador.

In 2023, Sabela led a panel at the World Parkinson’s Congress (WPC), and gave a presentation about a symptom-tracking eDiary project with the Movement Disorders Society.

SAbela’s PARKINSON’S LEADERSHIP JOURNEY 

After her diagnosis at the age of 38, one of Sabela’s first actions as an activist was creating Parkinsonic: a website dedicated to different Parkinson’s initiatives and stories she has written throughout her journey that share her coping mechanisms and experiences with Parkinson’s.

In 2020, Sabela cofounded the women of Con P de Párkinson: a platform created by and for Spanish-speaking women living with Parkinson’s. Today, Con P de Párkinson is a nonprofit association working to achieve three objectives:

  • To increase visibility of Parkinson’s in general and particularly YOPD
  • To promote research inclusive of gender perspective
  • To improve the quality of life of people living with Parkinson’s and their families

Con P de Párkinson empowers women living with YOPD by promoting research that investigates the intersection of sex, gender, and Parkinson’s. Con P de Párkinson also offers a collaborative, fun space that promotes social connection and offers resources to educate and empower women to live well with Parkinson’s.

Through her leadership journey, Sabela discovered many ways to promote awareness for YOPD, became engaged in different initiatives and organizations, and collaborated to expand research. Representing the PMD Alliance and becoming a Davis Phinney Foundation Bilingual Ambassador in 2023, Sabela serves the Spanish-speaking community in the United States by focusing on underrepresented communities and promoting ways to live well today.

Sabela believes that everything you do must be done with a purpose and that the key to speaking up for the underrepresented is to remember to speak from the heart.

A VISION FOR THE COMMUNITY 

Sabela’s goals for the local and global Parkinson’s community include:

  • Increasing global awareness of YOPD
  • Inspiring connections and education for women living with Parkinson’s
  • Advocating for gender-specific research
  • Promoting equality, disability inclusion, and women’s rights

VICTORIES AND ADVICE

Part of what inspires Sabela’s advocacy is a desire to educate Parkinson’s communities about ongoing research opportunities and ways to elevate messages of inclusivity and empowerment.

One of Sabela’s victories during her time as a Parkinson’s advocate is helping people—including herself—find and create ways to maintain social connection, even during periods of social-distancing like we all experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. The opportunity to to connect with others who are going through similar things creates a community anyone can count on for support, ideas, and suggestions for deepening Parkinson’s awareness.

Sabela’s advice for people in the Parkinson’s community? “Remember that it is possible to adapt your course; sometimes this is hard, but try to think about all other times in your life where you had to adapt to overcome adversity.” She recalls the spirit of Bill Bryson’s book, I’m a Stranger Here Myself, as she finds new ways to adapt to the changes and new experiences that so frequently arise while living with Parkinson’s.

REACH OUT TO YOUR LOCAL COMMUNITY ACTION COMMITTEE OR AN AMBASSADOR TODAY 

Social isolation has a substantial influence on quality of life for people with Parkinson’s. Work against this by reaching out to your nearest CAC or one of our 130+ Davis Phinney Foundation Ambassadors 

You can also reach out to the Community Engagement team any time by emailing communities@dpf.org. 

The post Healthy Parkinson’s Community™ Leader Highlight: Sabela Avión Martínez appeared first on Davis Phinney Foundation.

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