The MyMemoryWorx Fund at Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation provides a way for donors, individuals and local businesses to provide charitable grants to MyMemoryWorx. The fund will specifically support the programs and services that are open to local people and their families affected by Parkinson’s disease. Any clinical or for-profit portions of MyMemoryWorx will not be eligible for support from this fund.
MyMemoryWorx opened in 2016 and is a brain health and education center specializing in interventions not found inside a pill bottle. Kelly Willenborg is the founder and president of MyMemoryWorx, which offers certified cognitive coaching and assessments. She is certified in several fitness programs geared to the senior population and has opened a resource center called the Parkinson’s Institute of Effingham, which manages programs such as Rock Steady Boxing and SPEAK OUT! Voice Therapy to improve the lives of those facing the disease. Her work with the aging population began over 10 years ago after launching The Healing Jukebox, an arm for delivering musical engagement and education to long-term care and memory care residents/staff. The Healing Jukebox has placed 120-plus iPods in over 10 facilities. Kelly continues to advocate for music therapy as a board member of Tri-Music, a non-for-profit agency in Central Illinois. She received her master’s in Aging Studies/Gerontology from Eastern Illinois University.
The Parkinson’s Institute of Effingham (PIE) originated in November of 2018 as an extension of the existing neuro health interventions. The institute’s goal is three-fold: educate, stimulate and support. They practice peer connection, reassuring that no participant feels alone or are defined by the disease. Kelly acknowledges that the peer connection is a vital part of their involvement with the program.
“They are all up against the same battle,” she said.
Kelly saw the formation of PIE as a natural progression from the early services she provided. PIE’s services currently include monthly support group meetings, specialty workshops (falling, pain management, etc), voice therapy and the new Rock Steady Boxing program.
Rock Steady Boxing’s mission is to empower people with Parkinson’s disease, and improve their quality of life through a non-contact boxing curriculum. Although Rock Steady Boxing in Effingham is one of over 800 locations, this program offers a unique opportunity for monitoring mental improvements through a clinical cognitive testing system. Members are screened free of charge every three months, giving them personal data that incorporates both mental and, like other Rock Steady programs, physical achievements. In the few months it has been in operation, it has received incredible feedback from its members.
Kelly spoke highly of their progress.
“I can tell a difference from their ability to move, their balance, and their camaraderie.”
MyMemoryWorx will open its office at 710 West Jefferson Avenue in the new LiveWell center in September 2019. Their space will be shared with Mika Yoga and Tri-Music. “The new location represents the realization of a dream come true...music, mindfulness and mental fitness all under one roof.”
MyMemoryWorx is currently seeking class volunteers and a paid coach to assist her with the boxing program, as well as donations to support the Parkinson’s community. Learning collaborations with college programs are encouraged as well. Kelly Willenborg can be reached for general inquiries or to explore partnerships at: firstname.lastname@example.org