CHAMPs > Parkinson's CHAMP

November 2012 - Team Shake Rattle and Roll

My uncle, Larry Stratmann, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease about ten years ago.  This came as a shock to our family, but Uncle Larry has never been a person to let adversity get in his way.  He has continued doing the things in his life which have always been important to him, enjoying time with family and friends, always giving of his time to help whenever needed, and especially digging in his yard.  He’s convinced his property had a blacksmith’s shop around the turn of the 18th century, and even found a colonial coin dated 1791!

The first step towards our Unity Walk journey began with a simple question from my then 7 year old son, Caleb.  “Mom, what’s wrong with Uncle Larry?”  I replied that he had Parkinson’s disease, which affects the nervous system and makes people lose control of their muscles.  He quickly asked “Well, how do we fix him?” and I told him that there is currently no cure, but there are doctors and scientists working very hard to find one, but the research is very expensive.  He immediately wanted to raise money to help his (great) Uncle Larry, and we started to look online for organizations which are involved with PD.  We decided to raise funds on behalf of the Unity Walk because 100% of the money raised goes to the research needed to find a cure for Parkinson’s disease. In January we kicked off our efforts to support PD research with a goal set by Caleb of $2000, which seemed to me rather ambitious.  I didn’t want to dampen his enthusiasm by saying anything at the time, but I wasn’t sure if we could achieve it.   

Caleb was unstoppable.  No matter whom we saw during the following weeks and months- family, friends, strangers, even the finance manager at the dealership when we bought a vehicle- he told them about his Uncle Larry who has PD and the fundraising we were doing for the Unity Walk.  People were blown away by his determination and drive to help find a cure.  His enthusiasm was contagious, and our team quickly grew to 14 people.  We needed a team motto, so Caleb came up with ‘One step at a time’.  He asked Uncle Larry to think of a team name, and it seemed to fit very well- ‘Team Shake Rattle and Roll.’ Caleb is the Team Captain.

The fundraising efforts went so much better than I had ever anticipated.  I constantly checked our progress on the Unity Walk page, and we all (Caleb especially) were so excited when in March we surpassed the $2000 mark.  By the time of the Unity Walk, we raised almost $4000!  Caleb could not have been prouder of his team and his uncle, and we all were proud to walk with Uncle Larry and everyone that day who showed up to support Parkinson’s Disease research.

Kelly Maksim
Team Shake Rattle and Roll

I was touched with the gesture and very impressed that someone Caleb's age would inspire an entire family to raise money and participate in the Unity Walk.  This meant taking off from school and work for some and traveling from Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.

I was happy that I could participate and complete the Walk.  I felt very supported by my family and friends and their desire to raise money to find a cure for PD disease and the impact PD has had on me personally.  It was a wonderful day in Central Park, sharing the experience with my family and being among thousands all with the same common goal - a cure for PD.

Larry Stratmann
Team Shake Rattle and Roll