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WL woman gets word out about Parkinson's

Elaine Kallas promises 'fun, great evening' at Celebrate Hope Gala


by: SUBMITTED - Elaine Kallas, second from left in front row, is shown with her PRO advocacy group on its trip to meet state legislators in Salem this week.Elaine Kallas is busy this week in Salem urging state legislators’ support for Oregonians dealing with Parkinson’s disease.

Kallas downplays her own contributions to the effort, but the West Linn woman serves as a board member for Parkinson’s Resources of Oregon, and she epitomizes the grassroots volunteer who makes PRO a success.

Now, Kallas is getting the word out about the PRO’s Celebrate Hope Gala on April. 26, a dinner, auction and all-around fun evening that makes a huge contribution to the PRO budget.

“It is our keystone event and we have outstanding volunteers who have built it into a fun, great evening that provides us with close to one-third of our total annual budget,” Kallas said. “I guarantee that anyone who attends will forever have a close place in his or her heart for PD patients and families.”

A life-changing experience for Kallas came in the early 2000s when a close friend was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. The man was so impressed with the help that he received from PRO that he urged Kallas to get involved in the organization. She was an excellent candidate to serve. She has a background in fundraising and an interest in chronic diseases, due to her own children having serious chronic conditions.

“I was immediately attracted to the devoted leadership and commitment that was local and grassroots in nature,” Kallas said. “It was so strong that we were able to fairly quickly and efficiently broadly cast very useful services, education and support to many families in Oregon and Southwest Washington. I’ve never been so proud of an organization for which I’ve volunteered.”

PRO provides services such as education, respite care for caregivers, advocacy, a helpline and support groups.

One unusual quality about PRO is that the more you serve, the more you want to serve.

“When I got involved I planned on spending a two-year board position,” Kallas said. “Here it is a decade later, I can’t imagine not being part of the PD community. We are making a difference in this battle, and I’m very proud of PRO for the progress being made.”

The money raised by the Celebrate Hope Gala will make volunteers like Kallas increasingly effective in their efforts.

Last year the gala raised $207,000.

“Celebrate Hope ensures that we have staff available to answer the helpline,” said Anna Sanger Reed, program manager for PRO. “It means we can send out mailings like support group reminder cards and newsletters to keep people in the loop about about opportunities. It means caregivers can get a break.

“Celebrated Hope is a very powerful experience when you attend because you know the generosity in giving stems from a deep understanding of how challenging Parkinson’s is.”

The April 26 gala will be held at the Oregon Convention Center.

It will feature a cocktail hour, seated dinner, silent and live auction, entertainment and a celebration of those impacted by Parkinson’s disease.

Tickets are $150 per person. Doors open at 5 p.m.

To obtain tickets, go to http://ProGala.org or call 1-800-426-6806.



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