- Parkinson’s disease
The Journey Begins
Originally an on-air news anchor, George founded The Manahan Group, an issue-oriented public relations, advertising, and digital marketing agency, nearly 27 years ago.
However, George’s life trajectory shifted in 2010 when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s.
Following his diagnosis, George sought out support groups and events so he could learn more and connect with others living with Parkinson’s. He found a support group meeting locally and eagerly went to meet others like him — but no one showed up. This motivated George to create his own support group — for his own benefit, and the benefit of so many others living with chronic conditions without support.
Having Parkinson’s has taught me that tomorrow is not guaranteed, and every day is a gift. It’s okay to take a rest from time to time, but it’s also important to keep moving forward.
– George Manahan
Finding a Passion for Giving Back
After being disappointed with the lack of support groups in his home state of West Virginia, George felt inspired to bring together the Parkinson’s community himself. With a background in event planning, he decided to host an event to see who would show up — the first Fox Trot 5K for Parkinson’s Research. More than 200 people touched by Parkinson’s joined him to raise awareness and money for the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Through conversations at the event, George realized that many people living with Parkinson’s were suffering alone. He wanted to help change that.
He used this momentum to begin building a support system and invited those who came to the Fox Trot 5K to a support group meeting. Since starting his local support group, more have popped up around the state — and each year, the local groups come together for a statewide symposium to connect, share knowledge, and make an impact together.
Through the pandemic, George and his community have gotten creative in how they stay connected with virtual exercise classes, virtual support sessions and socially distant outdoor gatherings when weather is permitting.
To learn more about how to give back, visit the Resources page.