Turning Point participant gives back

Lou EisenbrandtLou Eisenbrandt, 69, is an overachiever. The wife, mother and grandmother from Overland Park is also a retired nurse, humanitarian, philanthropist, author and veteran. In addition, she’s a patient with Parkinson’s disease, diagnosed 14 years ago and doing “exceptionally well” today.

Taking charge of her health

To maintain her health, Lou proactively manages her condition. “I get massages regularly. I do yoga. I work out and stay active. I play golf, get acupuncture, work in my gardens and do what I can to stay moving,” she explained.

After being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, Lou didn’t know what to think or where to turn. “It was traumatic. In terms of knowing what the future might hold, I was scared,” she said. But once she found Turning Point: The Center for Hope and Healing, all of that changed. “The support I found at Turning Point saved my life.”

From her first visit, Lou was at home at Turning Point. “I wasn’t quite ready for a walker or wheelchair. I had the business of living and thriving to get on with,” she said. “I started taking every class I could.”

The classes, support groups and other resources offered by Turning Point focus on more than physical health. Lou participated in a variety of things the organization offered, but her favorite was the garden. “I oversee the garden,” she explained. “It’s a hope garden, and it’s beautiful!” From a simple spot with a few plants, Lou transformed the area into a serene retreat away from life’s troubles and worries.

Giving back to others

Lou also teaches a class at Turning Point called “Managing the Emotions of Living With a Neurological Condition.” “When you are diagnosed with a neurological disorder, it doesn’t just affect your physical health. It may cause disabilities, which can cause self-esteem issues, tension between you and your family members or anger at anyone in your path. Even those who simply experience limitations may feel loss of independence and, then, depleted self worth. Relationships sometimes change when someone receives a diagnosis. Dealing with all these emotions is hard, and my class attempts to help,” she said.

A past member of the Turning Point board of directors, Lou currently serves as chair emeritus and is still very involved in the organization. “I’m there are least once or twice a week, and usually more!” she said. “I can’t think of a better group of people than the ones I’ve met at Turning Point.”

Because she and her husband, Jim, feel so strong about Turning Point, it was the obvious choice for their charitable gifts. “We’ve given from the very beginning,” Lou said. “We give annually, provide contributions for fundraisers and special events and have included Turning Point in our planned giving. And we offer memorial gifts in memory of special people in our lives. “Turning Point has given me so much. It’s only right to give back.”

Your gift can change a life

Turning Point empowers individuals, family members and friends who live with serious or chronic illness. They do so by providing innovative education services and tools that inspire people to take charge of their illness and live life to its fullest. Every Turning Point class and program is supported entirely by philanthropy. Neither Turning Point nor The University of Kansas Health System receives state or local funding. Thanks to the generosity of the community, Turning Point’s meaningful programs are offered free of charge. To donate or learn more, contact Courtney Johanning at 913-588-2800 or cjohanning@kumc.edu or visit turningpointkc.org.