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Ambassadors are members of the Parkinson's community, most of them live with PD, who are passionate about the WPC and believe it's the right format of a meeting to generate the collaborations and momentum needed to find a cure, improve models of care, and make sure the world knows about the WPC 2016. They are leaders in their communities on the ground and online and look forward to welcoming delegates to Portland in 2016. 

Invite an Ambassador to speak to your group about the WPC 2019. They can join you in person or via Skype. WPC Ambassadors have all attended at least one World Parkinson Congress and can give you the details you need and inspire you to make it to Portland in September 2016. Learn more by writing to


  • Mike Atkinson (Australia)
  • Alejandra Borunda (Mexico/USA)         
  • Jillian Carson (Canada)
  • Elisabeth Ildal (Denmark)
  • Emma Lawton (United Kingdom)
  • Andy McDowell (New Zealand)
  • Cathy Molohan (Ireland/Germany)
  • David Sangster (United Kingdom)
  • Tan Tian Seng (Hong Kong)
  • Debbie Shapiro (Israel)
  • Allison Smith (USA)
  • Karyn Spilberg (Australia)
  • Rune Vethe
  • Cherry Vogt-Ward (Barbados/Switzerland)
  • Meng Chuo Wong (Malaysia)
  • A.C. Woolnough (USA)



   Mike Atkinson (Australia)  
  Alejandra Borunda (Mexico and USA) is 31 years old and a Mexico native. She has been living in Phoenix AZ since she was 12 years old. She is mother to her 4 legged Pomeranian, a vegan and passionate animal rights advocate. Alejandra has always had a mission of helping others and currently works at a homeless campus doing exactly that. She has a passion for psychology and is currently working in her bachelors and plans to continue working helping the homeless.
She was diagnosed with PD at the early age of 28. Alejandra has 8 other family members in her family with PD, she is within the 15% of genetic PD. Shortly after her diagnosis she became very active in the PD community, she refused to have the same outlook in PD that her family did (being embarrassed) She has been determined to fight PD by raising awareness and becoming an advocate. Alejandra has been closely in contact with the Spanish speaking parkinson's community since her diagnoses informing and supporting her fellow PWP's.
  Jillian Carson (Canada) was diagnosed with Parkinson in 2009 at the age of 49. Her symptoms began after a neck injury with spinal cord damage. Once the neck was fused, she noticed a tremor and cramping in her right arm. Up until this time Jillian led a very active life, which included working as a self employed physiotherapist for 25 years. She knew too well the symptoms of Parkinson and it's devastating effects on those who live with the neurodegenerative disease.


Exercise is her specialty and Jillian was not going to allow her diagnosis to stop promoting exercise and wellness.

Jillian retired from her job in 2011 and trained with Dr. Becky Farley a neuroscientist and physiotherapist. Jillian became a trained Parkinson's Wellness Recovery/Exercise for Brain Change, clinician. She continues to use her physiotherapy skills volunteering and exercising in her local Parkinson community in Victoria BC, Canada. Her emphasis is on living well with Parkinson through Parkinson specific exercises.

Jillian is a Parkinson's Movement Ambassador and is a strong advocate for better quality of life for people living with Parkinson's around the world. Her video, A Physiotherapist's Journey with Parkinson's, was shown at the opening ceremony WPC 2013 in Montreal.

  Elisabeth Ildal (Denmark)  
 Photo Here    Emma Lawton (United Kingdom)  
 Photo Here    Andy McDowell (New Zealand) is an award winning marketing consultant, husband and father of two young girls living with early onset Parkinson's Disease.

Diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s disease in December 2009, aged he wrote a poem "Smaller" for his children - to help them understand what was happening to him. He turned that poem into a short film that went on to win the Grand Prize and People’s Choice Awards at WPC 2013. Andy has had a documentary series made about his battle with Parkinsons and the subsequent DBS surgery undertaken in 2014 and has contributed to Parkinsons NZ, Young Parkinsons Network (UK), Power Through Project (WPC) and speaks publicly about his experience. Whilst no longer working Andy devotes himself to his children, exercise and his blog ( As he says “Parkinsons may have made me smaller, but I’ve still got a lot to do"
 Photo Here    Cathy Molohan (Ireland and Germany) Cathy Molohan has spent half her life in Ireland and half in Germany. This not only leads to a passion for watching rugby, hurling and football, but also an in-depth knowledge of both countries. Diagnosed with PD at the age of 38, she is active in both German and Irish organisations. Running her own training and translation business with over 50 staff, as well as finding precious time for swimming and yoga, keep Cathy busy. Her husband and two children are the rock on which all of this rests.  
     David Sangster (United Kingdom)  
    Michael/Tan Tian Seng(Singapore) Living with Parkinson's Disease for over a decade, Michael is a strong-willed person who is willing to listen and help all other Parkinsons Warriors in learning and managing to adjust to their new well being.  
     Debbie Shapiro (Israel)  
  Allison Smith (USA) was 32 years old when she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. After three years of hiding the symptoms of her illness, she decided to undergo deep brain stimulation surgery. With the support of her medical team, she has decided to take this challenge and give back to patients who struggle with neurological deficiencies. In 2010, Allison launched a program called "Parkinson’s in Balance” which offers fitness classes, support groups and community events at no cost. Allison holds a Master’s degree in Marital and Family Therapy with an emphasis on Health and Fitness. She is a clinical member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT). Allison is a personal trainer certified through National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), holding certifications in Sports Performance and Corrective exercise. Allison is also the author of "I am not Contagious” which documents her life with a chronic illness and has a online blog, "The PerkyParkie”.   

Karyn Spilberg (Australia) was diagnosed in 2002, and soon after founded Young@ Park, a support group for people living with Young Onset Parkinson’s.

In 2009, Karyn was part of the Pedalling for Parkinson's Vietnam Challenge, raising awareness and money for Parkinson’s Victoria. She has also participated in every Parkinson’s Victoria’s annual signature fundraising event, A Walk in the Park since it began.


Karyn has made numerous media appearances to raise awareness, including coverage of her DBS surgery on Australian television. Karyn has attended Parkinson’s conferences all over the world – including the first WPC in 2006 in Washington DC, and the last WPC in in 2016 in Portland, Oregon, as well as the Parkinson's Unity Walk in NYC in 2007.

In 2013, Karyn was awarded the Sir Zelman Cowan Award for outstanding support for people with Parkinson's

In 2014, Karyn was elected to The Board of Parkinson’s Victoria, where shehopes to make a difference to people living with Parkinson’s, their carers and families.

   Rune Vethe  

Cherry Vogt-Ward (Barbabos/Switzerland) Prior to her diagnosis 10 years ago Cherry was a professional back-up singer in Zurich Switzerland. The WPC 2013 in Montreal, Canada where she worked as a volunteer was an emotional, empowering and motivational journey, and the impetus for her establishing The Barbados Parkinson’s Trust and Support Group in 2015, with the intention of spreading Parkinson’s awareness in Barbados and throughout the Caribbean. Her dual citizenship also enables her to make an impact in the Swiss Parkinson’s community.


Cherry speaks candidly about her challenge with Parkinson’s, and is constantly touched by the kindness and generosity of strangers when they hear about her challenge. ‘’I might have Parkinson’s but Parkinson’s does not have me”, She refuses to succumb to the disease, and encourages others to do likewise. Cherry believes that support groups and attending the WPC congress are vital as they are platforms to further awareness and share with others who are on the same journey.


Meng Chuo Wong (Malaysia) is born to a Christian family in the Borneo Island of the Sarawak state currently part of the federation of Malaysia. His maternal great granduncle was among one of the first belivers in the southern China province of Fujian where the American Methodist missionary targeted in the mid of the 19th century. For economic reason, the migration to the “south sea” took place in the early 20th century. Perhaps, with this background, it explains why he was trained as a Christian Minister. He learned about some radical social ideas from the last American missionaries in the 1970s.

After 8 years serving as a church minister, Meng left to form a NGO that involved in social economic activities for uplifting the living standards of indigenous community.  Their work involve awareness education, community organising, advocacy in relation with indigenous rights especially over their traditional lands.  As he moved on he studied environment management since the communities he works with are living in natural resource rich areas, where modern development is fast encroaching to extract timber, develop large scale plantation as well construction of mega dam for electricity. Lately he serves as environmental and social consultant for the community with efforts on linking their struggle with international NGO community and governments in the areas of certification, legality and trade.

 In 2015, meng was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. He then became a founding member of a local Parkinson society, through his columns in social media he hope to continue to bring impacts to the community locally as well as globally, with the added field on health/Parkinson especially among the Chinese readers.

   A.C. Woolnough  


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