CHAMPs > Parkinson's CHAMP
June 2010 - Team Klavans
Alan Klavans was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at the beginning of 2003. The research began and his daughter Anne found the Parkinson’s Unity Walk. Result: 2010 marks the eighth year of Team Klavans’ participation in the Walk. It rained throughout that first Walk. What an initiation to our event, but according to Alan, it was nothing compared to what he experienced when first diagnosed. “Eventually, you dry off from the rain no matter how wet you are. Living with Parkinson’s doesn’t go away.”
One of the things Alan considers a highlight of the Unity Walk is the sense of community. He repeats the word “inspiration” again and again as he describes the courage of the Walk’s participants. From those in wheelchairs to grandchildren in strollers, this is an inspirational community.
As Alan’s case has become more widely known, he has been approached by people who identify themselves as “having something in common”. Most recently, this happened at his granddaughter’s graduation from nursery school. Another member of his “community” offered a big smile. The new acquaintance seemed to draw strength from this new friend. The connection is palpable. Alan knows the feeling. “Be strong,” he counseled, just as he draws strength from the generosity of his supporters, friends and family alike.
Alan repeats how blessed he is with a loving family and strong support system. As difficult as Parkinson’s certainly is, it demands strength. “Look around at the Walk; it’s not hard to witness real courage. For me, this is the hand I was dealt. What choice do I have? No hero; just doing the best I can.” He draws from his experience in the military where he learned to “tough it out.”
Alan reaches out to his network of family, friends and colleagues each year and through their generosity, he’s raised over $50,000 over the course of eight Unity Walks. No major events. Rather a heartfelt letter conveying the urgency he feels because there is no cure today for PD. His team has included his wife, children, grandchildren, sister, brother-in-law and close friends from the mid-west. They have walked with as many as eighteen people ranging in ages from two to sixty five. He is committed to raising funds for research with the hope that they will find a cure for Parkinson’s disease in his lifetime – for himself and for others. There are a whole lot of buttons, he says, needing to be buttoned.
Alan is one of our “Shining Stars” and we appreciate his continued support of the Unity Walk over the years.
The PUW Staff