Recognitions for the week of March 6

Juneauite honored with Optimism Award

Kerry Howard of Juneau was awarded the 2022 Optimism Award by the American Parkinson Disease Association Northwest Chapter.

The APDA Northwest Chapter chooses someone in the local Parkinson’s disease “family” who exemplifies this motto each year and honors them with the APDA Optimism Award, according to the ADPA NW.

Howard was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2016, according to ADPA NW, and has approached the disease as realistically and positively as possible.

“We are constantly inspired by Kerry’s determination and positive outlook,” states Jean Allenbach, Executive Director, APDA Northwest Chapter, in a news release announcing the honor. “Not only is she working hard to be proactive in her own personal Parkinson’s care and journey, she is motivating and inspiring others along the way, and that’s so important.”

Howard’s advocacy for her Parkinson’s community by being a volunteer, ambassador and community advocate, working on policy issues, and lobbying Alaska’s congressional delegation about Parkinson’s concerns are among the reasons she was awarded the Optimism Award, according to ADPA NW. Howard also helped establish the first Rock Steady Boxing program in Juneau, and procured funding from APDA NW for this program to go virtual during the pandemic so that people from all over the country could participate

“Living with PD is a challenge, but it is a disease you can live with, and for that I am grateful,” Howard said in the news release. “No one knows what the future holds but I believe in being kind, brave, and grateful. Pessimists may be right more often, but optimists have more friends and more fun.”

Howard will be honored during the live but virtual 20th Annual APDA Magic of Hope Gala and Auction on Friday, March 11.

The event is open to the general public. Registration is free at

JDHS graduate earns honors for presentation

Spencer Lunda received first place honors in the poster presentation category at the Pacific Fisheries Technologies conference in Newport, Oregon, during its annual meeting Feb. 20-23. Lunda’s poster, “Pilot-scale depuration of three species of oysters demonstrates varying rates of reduction of the Vibrio parahaemolyticus,” was judged by five scientists prior to the award decision. Lunda, a graduate of Juneau-Douglas High School: Kalé and the University of Washington, is pursuing his PhD in comparative health sciences at Oregon State University.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *