A longtime advocate for the Parkinson's Disease Foundation, Judi Jecmen is one of 13 artists in the country whose artwork was selected to appear in the organization's nationally distributed 2014 Creativity and Parkinson's Calender.
Her artwork, a block she created for the foundation's global quilt was chosen out of hundreds of other submissions to be featured in the month of April, which is Parkinson's Awareness Month.
"I am very pleased that my artwork was chosen for the calendar," said Jecmen, who worked as a dance teacher and served as artistic and business director for Concepts Dance Company for more than 10 years before being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1999.
For Jecmen, a dance major who graduated from Stephens College and whose life has always been about movement, the disease has dramatically changed her life. According to the foundation, Parkinson's is a chronic and progressive movement disorder that involves the malfunction and death of nerve cells in the brain with symptoms such as tremors of the hands and stiffness of the limbs. To help alleviate the symptoms, including the anxiety she felt, she began to practice yoga and find ways to relax, including the use of mandalas, circular patterns that are also spiritual symbols in religions such as Buddhism.
"I have always been drawn to circular patterns and found them helpful when meditating," said Jecmen.
After learning about the Parkinson's Quilt, she created two squares "Mandala One" and "Mandala Two" and found the circular movements involved in making them very therapeutic. Her squares, along with those from her three sisters, appeared on the quilt, which has been displayed in the U.S., Canada and Scotland.
"We're proud to showcase Ms. Jecmen's creativity in the calendar," said Robin Elliott, foundation president. "Her work serves as a source of hope and inspiration to the nearly one million people in the US living with Parkinson's disease."
As a volunteer research advocate within the organization, Jecmen has participated in clinical trials for the foundation as well as helped spread awareness about the disease in the Jefferson City community, including being part of the local Parkinson's Support Group that meets at Capital Region Medical Center every Wednesday.
Jecmen distributed the Parkinson's calendar at the Unitarian Universalist Church in southwest Jefferson City and JC Health Food Services on Missouri Boulevard. People interested in ordering the free calendar can call 1-800-457-6676, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.pdf.org/creativity.