Logo image of Columbia Parkinson's Support Group

July 2008 Meeting

December 2008 Meeting
Fund Raising

What are some of the things that we do as a support group? Affiliations with other organizations? Our History
How can you contact the Columbia Parkinson's Support Group? We are a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit organization  

Our Mission

The Columbia Parkinson's Support Group (also known as CPSG) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and incorporated as a non-profit in the State of South Carolina. The mission of the Columbia Parkinson's Support Group is to provide the Parkinson's Community with a safe environment to obtain SUPPORT, INFORMATION, EDUCATION, create AWARENESS about Parkinson's Disease, and FUND RAISING to further research for the cure of Parkinson's Disease.

Note: The Parkinson's Community can consist of Parkinson Disease (PD) patients, their caregivers / care-partners, family members, friends, and any others who are working in related fields or have an interest in Parkinson's disease.

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Meet Our Officers and Board Members
The Columbia Parkinson's Support Group is operated and run by volunteers who are Parkinson patients themselves, caregivers & care partners of Parkinson patients, or people who have an interest in and support Parkinson's disease.
The Officers and Board Members volunteer their time and talents, receiving no compensation or salaries.
Photo of Dottie Gantt - President
Dottie Gantt
- Program Co-Chair
Member of the Board
Photo by Dennis Baker
Photo of Carol Baker - Vice President
Carol Baker
Vice President - Treasurer - Program Co-Chair
Member of the Board
Photo by Dennis Baker

Dottie Gantt is the President and Program Co-Chair. She is retired, having worked as a research engineer with Bell Labs at Alcatel/Lucent. She has a BS in Business at the University of South Carolina, and a MS in Computer Science Engineering at Kansas State University. Dottie is a care-partner with her husband, who is a Parkinson's patient.

"I am very interested in providing a safe support system for the Parkinson community; and helping to provide education and awareness about Parkinson's disease throughout the state of South Carolina and its citizens."

Dottie Gantt, President
Telephone: 803-604-0061
Email: contact@columbiaparkinsonsupportgroup.org

Carol Baker is the Vice President / Treasurer / and Program Co-Chair. She is retired, having worked at the University of South Carolina in Financial Aid, processing guaranteed student loans, and she worked at "Do It Best" as an Administrative Assistant in payroll and insurance.

"As a Parkinson's patient, I want to assist other Parkinson patients in their search for information, resources, and empowerment about Parkinson's."

Carol Baker, Vice President & Treasurer
Telephone 803-781-6193
Email:  caroltbaker@bellsouth.net

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Johnny Miller
Johnny Miller
Secretary, Member of the Board

Photo provided by Johnny Miller

Karen Basso
Karen Basso
Publicity Chair
Photo provided by Karen Basso

Johnny Miller is our Secretary. In 2009 he retired after 40+ years of ministry. He moved back to S. C. in 2011 to teach part-time at Columbia International University, where he has been both President and a professor. He has also been a pastor, a high school teacher, and a sports journalist. Johnny is a Parkinson's patient. He is interested in education and encouragement, educating the individual PD patient and the community in the realities of the disease, and encouraging the individual patient to continue to grow in understanding and combating the disease.

"I have profited tremendously from the wisdom and knowledge of other PD patients, and I want to provide that for yet others."

Johnny Miller, Secretary
Telephone: 803-520-0262

Karen Basso is our Publicity Chair. She is Senior Vice President and one of the principals of the Preferred Group.  Preferred is an insurance and reinsurance brokerage and consulting firm headquartered in Columbia, SC.  Karen is a care partner with her husband, Derek, who is a Parkinson’s patient.

"I am very interested in promoting education and research about Parkinson’s Disease and helping to provide a mutual support system for the members of the Parkinson’s community."

Karen Basso, Co-Chair Public Relations
Telephone: 803-739-1500
Email: kbasso@preferredre.com

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Photo of Dr. Ben Herz - Board Member
Dr. Ben Herz
Member of the Board
Photo Courtesy of Medical College of Georgia
Photo of Dennis Cooper - Photographer
Dennis Baker
Member of the Board
Photo by Dottie Gantt

Board Member - Dr. Ben Herz is our Medical Advisor. Dr. Herz is Chair and Professor at Mary Baldwin College in Staunton Va., Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences, in the Department of Occupational Therapy.

He was the Program Director and an Assistant Professor in the Georgia Regents University, School of Allied Health Sciences, Department of Occupational Therapy. He attended Creighton University, majoring in Occupational Therapy. He has had many patients who have Parkinson's. Dr. Herz is internationally recognized for his research on how Nintendo Wii and Kinect games can be used as an effective occupational therapy treatment for Parkinson's disease.

"I want to help improve the quality of life of Parkinson patients, so that they can do the day-to-day tasks that occupy their time, sustain themselves, and enable them to contribute to the wider community. I want to help them discover a balance between work, leisure, and self care, enabling them to achieve their highest possible level of independence."

Board Member - Dennis Baker is our Photographer. He is retired from working for the South Carolina Electric & Gas Company. Dennis attended the University of Maryland, College Park, majoring in Nuclear Science. Dennis is a care partner with his wife, Carol Baker, who is a Parkinson patient.

"I want to help provide information and resources to other care partners and caregivers of Parkinson patients."

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Michelle Morton-Reed
Michelle Morton Reed
Member of the Board
Photo Courtesy of Michelle Morton Reed
Barbara Carnal
Barbara Carnal
Volunteer Member of the Leadership Team
Photo by the Bluffton Sun Newspaper

Michelle Morton Reed is a Deep Brain Stimulation Therapy Expert at Medtronic Neuromodulation. She received her BS in Exercise Science at the University of Texas at Arlington, Texas. Michelle has been involved in the medical industry since 1999 in both practitioner and sales roles. She continues to enjoy her daily contact with patients.

"I became interested in Parkinson's disease because my neighbor had Parkinson's, and I've never had anyone in my life with Parkinson's. I wanted to know everything about it; so I could relate and understand what he and his wife faced on a daily basis."

"My goal in life is to impact people and help change their lives. My day-to-day involvement with Parkinson's patients makes me realize how humble and appreciative they are as people. My heart is filled with so much joy when I'm able to help make their lives a little better than the day before. I feel if I can make a difference in a patient's life, I'm fulfilling my role as a child of our Lord and Savior!"

Among her interests away from work, she and her husband enjoy the outdoors - mainly boating, hunting, camping, hiking, and ALL Gamecock and Texas sports.

Cell 803-587-9681
Email michelle.morton@medtronic.com

Barbara is a retired "Child and Family Counselor". She has been licensed in SC since moving to SC in 1998. Barbara has trademarked her unique approach to family strengthening under the name of "The Patchwork Family (R)". Currently she focuses on writing and publishing poetry, fiction, and articles on journaling and family wellness. Barbara earned a BA from DePauw University, and a Master's degree in "Rehabilitation Counseling" from Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

"I am a Parkinson's patient, diagnosed in 2006, who believes in the strong wellness approach found in the Columbia Parkinson's Support Group. The education, sharing, and mutual caring here are an important part of my 'living with PD' style. I want to increase other's awareness and participation."

Phone 803-497-3173
Email barbcarn1@earthlink.net

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Do you want to
volunteer to be a member of our Leadership Team?

Please Contact Us

What are some of the other things that we do as a support group?
Yes, we have our monthly meetings, but there are many other activities and things that we do towards our mission goal of providing Support, Information, Education, creating Awareness about Parkinson's disease, and Fund Raising to further research for the cure of Parkinson's Disease. Click here to find out what are the many other things that we do as a support group.

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Affiliations With Other Organizations?
The Columbia Parkinson's Support Group is not an affiliated with any other organization.

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Our History
The Columbia Parkinson's Support Group has a long history of an active, growing membership.

In January 1985, W. G. Rainey and a small group of individuals started the group because they felt there was a need for a support group for Parkinson's patients, their caregivers, and anyone who had an interest in Parkinson's disease within the community. The group was formed on March 20, 1985. For many years the group met wherever they could find a meeting place in the Columbia mid-lands area.

In 2001, the group was recognized by the Lexington Medical Center (LMC) as a community support group. While our support group is not a part of LMC, for many years they graciously allowed us to hold our meetings in their classrooms. Eventually our support group grew large enough that they moved us into the Lexington Medical Center Park 1 Auditorium. Thank you Lexington Medical Center for your continued support and allowing us to meet on your facilities.

In 2008, the Columbia Parkinson's Support Group became the first Parkinson's support group in the state to be recognized by South Carolina Lieutenant Governor's Office on Aging as part of their SC Access program.

In 2013, the Columbia Parkinson's Support Group received 501(c)(3) non-profit approval from the IRS.

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Join us at the "Parkinson Round Table" BLOG
The "Parkinson Round Table" blog was created to provide a place for conversation, discussion, and exchange of information about Parkinson's disease (PD) and related topics. We invite anyone who has an interest in Parkinson's disease to gather around the virtual table. Bring a cup of coffee, tea or whatever; and join us. You can come dressed-up, in your pajamas, or whatever. You can come any time of the day or night. We don't care how or when you come. We just want you to have a place where you can relax and share in the conversation about living with Parkinson's. Click here to join us at the "Parkinson Round Table"

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Why do we have the red tulip as part of our logo? For the answer click here

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Photo of Duncan - Our Mascot Dog
Our Official Mascot
Photo by Dr. Ben Herz
  Meet Duncan
Duncan is the official mascot of the Columbia Parkinson's Support Group. In his photo, Duncan is wearing one of our Parkinson Awareness Buttons.

Duncan says "Wuff Woooof" --- (Translation - He wants everyone to work towards helping to find a cure for Parkinson's Disease!)
Why is Duncan our mascot?
Duncan has an interest in Parkinson's disease. Duncan liked his very first visit to the Columbia Parkinson's Support Group meeting; and he become a member of the group by signing our membership list with his paw print. Whenever he can, Duncan says that he will be attending and participating at our support group meetings. Duncan is cute, cuddly, and very well-behaved. We appreciate Duncan's membership.

We will be featuring photo's of Duncan on several of our web pages.

Duncan says - "Woof" "Woooof" "Arff" "Woof" --- (Translation - Please come and attend our support group meetings.)Spacer gif

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©2008 by Columbia Parkinson's Support Group (CPSG), All Rights Reserved.
Page Last Updated March 14, 2014
Site designed and maintained by Dottie M. Gantt

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CPSG Logo by Krystal Acton of Graphic Designs Unlimited