EM Summer 2004



Emory Weekend

Alumni in Africa


Alumni Authors

Her left hand

To be diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease–a progressive neurological disorder that causes tremors and muscle stiffness–was an especially cruel irony for Kim Nichols, a solderer for Northrop Grumman Corporation who enjoys origami as a hobby.

“I went into a state of depression and denial. But it did not take me too long to realize I could not go on that way,” says the fifty-five-year-old Nichols, of Warner Robins, Georgia. “I discovered that I still could do most things, but just needed to find new ways to accomplish my desires.”

When Nichols could no longer use her right hand to do intricate work, she learned to use her left. She decided to dedicate her talents in origami, the Japanese art of folding paper into flowers, animals, and ornaments, toward finding a cure for Parkinson’s. Nichols sells her colorful paper flower arrangements–lilies, roses, cornflowers, iris–and miniature trees on her Web site (http://members.cox.net/kimn105), and donates the proceeds from this and other fundraisers to Emory’s Center for Neurodegenerative Disease.

“I like doing origami–it’s therapy for me,” says Nichols, who has contributed more than $20,000 in all.

“I think Kim’s efforts really stand out and show what a difference one person can make,” says her doctor, Professor of Neurology Mahlon DeLong (below, with Nichols).–M.J.L.





© 2004 Emory University