CHICAGO — Nearly 90,000 people are diagnosed with Parkinson’s in the U.S. each year, a degenerative disease that robs them of stability in their steps with their hands.
The daughter of a Northwestern neurologist whose life work has been treating the bodies of those affected by Parkinson’s is stepping in to treat their souls.
“Listening to my mom talk about her patient’s interests, hobbies and passions and the way they didn’t let Parkinson’s disease stop them from doing what they enjoyed,” Anna Catherine McGraw said.
Which gave her an idea.
“To have a little glimpse into their everyday lives, their homes, what they love to do and their struggles,” she said.
So she began snapping her mother’s patients.
“I really wanted to focus on their hands and what they can do with them,” McGraw said.
“Hands are very important and the way you can use your hands in creative mode,” Woodworker Gordon McDugle said. “(Woodworking) brightens my day and gives me new energy.”
Three years, six patients and hundreds of photos later, a story began to emerge on the clinic wall.
“I think everyone wants to be seen,” McGraw said. “I think that a lot of what this project is about, these people would be seen by a world that seems to be moving past them very quickly.”
Not just Parkinson’s patients but a watch repairman, a world traveler, a woodworker, an artist, and a beekeeper.
“I got to see her interact with these people I spend my day with and it was funs to see her engage with them and be pulled into their stories,” Martha McGraw, Neurologist, Northwestern Medicine Central Dupage Hospital, said.
A visual testament of what lies beyond black and white and the power of passions to pull every shade in between
“Never give up. Once you find something you really like. Do it every day.” McDugle said. “This Parkinson’s is not an end.”