Our History

Jane R Bingham Parkinson's Support Group Asheville

In The Beginning...

The beginnings of the Parkinson’s Support Group of Asheville (PSGA), reach back into the 1980’s when Jane Raoul Bingham organized the first meeting at the former Thoms Hospital, at 68 Sweeton Creek Rd. Jane’s husband Sam lived with Parkinson’s so she understood the importance of community support.

Jane Bingham may have been the perfect person to begin a support group, as she was remarkably connected to the Asheville community. A few of her links were the WNC Pony Club, French Broad River Garden Club and League of Women Voters. She was also a Cub Scout den mother and advocate of campaign finance reform.

Thoms Rehabilitation Hospital joined together with two other nonprofit agencies, Visiting Health Professionals (VHP) and MountainCARE (Center for Adult Respite and Enrichment) to form CarePartners, in 1996. They provided strong support for PSGA, offering not only space to meet but professional guidance and administrative support to the leadership.

an essay on the shaken palsy by james parkinson

Parkinson's Support Group Continues...

When Jane Bingham died in September 2001 her son shared that she was thrilled the Parkinsons Support Group would continue, that it was in the hands of capable people and her effort had been rewarded.

One of the CarePartners professionals providing guidance to the PSGA was Lisa Laney, a medical social worker and member of the Aging Lifecare Association. Around 2004 Lisa became a support person to our group and continues to do so by serving on our Board of Directors and programming committee and speaking annually to our group about health care management. She is no longer with CarePartners, as she left in 2014 to open her private practice of care management, Mountain Area Premier Care Navigation (MAPCN).

Mission Hospital purchased CarePartners in 2014. As departments reorganized over the following year it became apparent the space used by PSGA in the CarePartners facility would no longer be available. Staff assisted the group of about 35 individuals, to find our new, and current, meeting home at Groce United Methodist Church, 954 Tunnel Road, Asheville.

parkinson's support group or asheville our history

Through Covid To Today...

PSGA scraped through the covid pandemic via video chat but was virtually decimated by 2022.  A small group of individuals met and agreed the group was too important to let it die. Asheville needed a strong, dynamic Support Group.

Outside of the group, very few people knew of our existence. Late in 2022 there began an ambitious plan to provide printed material to all neurology and physical therapy offices in the Asheville area. Concurrently, we added a monthly meeting notice onto local media community calendars. Our membership increased from fewer than 50 to 185 members over the course of 18 months. During this same span we created our mission statement and motto, obtained 501(c)(3) non-profit status, recruited a Board of Directors and elected a small slate of operating officers.

Our monthly meetings begin with the wonderful sound of overlapping conversations as friends connect and new friendships form. Small group interactions and regular social events have created new bonds which strengthen the fabric of this community. Jane Bingham’s efforts have indeed been rewarded. The voices heard are the sound of a strong, dynamic support group.

We Can't Do This Alone