CHAMPs > CHAMP in Action

Email Challenge Week #2 Winners

There were six winners of our second weekly email challenge –to be the team with the most new team members, who both registered AND donated online, within that week. The prize was an interview with Michelle Charlesworth, WABC-TV Weekend News Anchor, at the Unity Walk.

DominACHIN over PD
Team Espo
Team Heartland Brewery
Team Rhode Island
Walkers for Lulu

DominACHIN over PD


Who we walk for:
We walk for Mike Achin, my husband of nearly 32 years. He was diagnosed officially 3 years ago although he was misdiagnosed (one neurologist said his fingers were twitching from nerve damage that ocured when he was giving blood once) several years before that which makes him one of the YOPDers. He's an avid Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics fan. He's a leader in all sense of the word. Because of him, his style, his passion and determination, he has educated many to become advocates for Parkinson's. He's a convert and now a NYC fan. He plugs along every day working full time as a sales manager for a Supply company and also part time as a beer pourer at the Pawtucket Red Sox games.

Why we walk:
We participate in the Unity Walk because it was the first event I found online right after Mike was diagnosed with Parkinson's. I was still in a fog as to what PD was going to mean for us, how it was going to affect us, or what to expect. It sounded like a great place to get answers to all of my questions and to be surrounded by thousands of people that were in the same boat as us. I had my work cut out for me since my daughter was living in Florida, one son was at school at UMASS, my other son was in town but always seemed to have a busy calendar, and my husband was not exactly a fan of NYC. But obviously, it worked out and we all attended our first Unity Walk in 2010. I remember thinking that walking with the five of us was going to be great and pretty emotional. With Facebook these days word travels fast about what you are up to. As news spread about us going to NYC for the Walk, many friends and family members decided to join us. Over 50 joined us and I had to chuckle at my hopes for just 5 of us to attend.

This year will be our 3rd year. The first year was a blur. It was all so new, there were so many people.....people that drove down from MA with us.....some from other states.....people we had met online and were able to meet in person.......I wanted time to slow down. The weather was beautiful as was the whole experience. The second year was just as good (except for the weather, I would have ordered it to be a bit warmer!!) and on the ride home I remember thinking what a shame we had to wait a whole year for the 2012 walk!  I really enjoy the staff and look forward to seeing them each year.....there are always more great people we've met during the year that we get to see..........

Best memories of the Walk:
All memories have been great but that first one was so emotional. To have so many with us and to feel so loved by them and to be embraced by the Parkinson's world for the first time will always stand out for me.
Also, Zach, who is 6'8", getting his face painted like a little kitty will also stand out in my memory for awhile.
If there is anyone reading this that is thinking about attending the Walk but is unsure, I recommend that you join us. You won’t be disappointed. I also think the staff is great. They are always open to new ideas are continue to make the experience the best.

Gail Achin
Team DominACHIN member

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Why I walk:
I am in early stages of PD

Who are you walking for?  
The next "ME".

A favorite memory or experience at the Walk:
Feeling, Loved, Supported, and not so alone.

Lee Brotsker
Team Captain, PARK THIS!

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 Team Rhode Island


Why we walk:
As the Rhode Island APDA team, we walk in honor every single APDA family in RI and South Eastern Massachusetts...past and present. We walk for our famous friends Muhammad and Lonnie Ali, Michael J. Fox and Claiborne Pell. We also walk for those you will never meet like Walt Dickman, Jim Levine, Bonnie Pashkow, Paul, Jillian & Billy and a list that is way too long. Over 1800 families too long!

Who we walk for:
As an individual, I walk for my mother Catherine and my aunt Stella; as the RI APDA nurse, I walk for every single family that I have had the pleasure to know. Caring for my mom, I felt so alone. Arriving at the Unity Walk each year brings me to tears - as does writing this now. More than any other event, the Unity Walk accomplishes something so important. It tells so many families.. You Are Not Alone! You give Hope that together we can accomplish anything! Thank you for that! That is why each year we bring as many people as we can to this event. It is the most moving and inspirational event of the year! To see that many people in one place who feel what you feel....

So in summary, we walk in "honor of" and with the "hope of a cure". One day this Unity Walk will become the Celebration of the Cure.

Mary Ellen Thibodeau
APDA Information & Referral Coordinator

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Parkinson’s Unity Walk: An Overview of My Involvement
A project in honor of my mother
Jocelyn Thomas, Walkers for Lulu

Why I Walk:
I participate in the Parkinson’s Unity Walk for three reasons -- it is rewarding, effective and fun!  

It is rewarding because it allows me to do something in commemoration of my mother and for all the others who suffer from Parkinson’s disease.  I have a feeling that because my mother always got involved in causes in which she believed that she is pleased with my involvement.  

It is effective because through my involvement, I know I am both raising awareness and money for an important cause. There may be no cure, but this event brings much research money and a lot of hope to millions of Parkinsonians and the people who love them.

It is fun because it allows me to gather with friends in a very pretty setting. I enjoy everything about the Parkinson’s Unity Walk day – the exhibits, the music, the speeches, the enthusiasm of the participants, seeing acquaintances with whom I have worked for years on the event, meeting celebrities, the energy in the park, the weather (usually), and the post-Walk lunches.

Who I Walk For:
I walk in memory of my mother, Lucille Thomas, who died from the effects of PD in 1998. I have participated in the Unity Walk since 1997, when I learned about the event at an APDA-sponsored symposium conveniently held in my town in central N.J.   Each year, I have had friends and relatives with me as part of the Walkers for Lulu team. In total, more than 30 people have been part of our team. I am grateful to all of them – young and old and from near and far – who have come to Central Park to support the cause in person.

Favorite Experiences:
My most memorable experience of the Walk is serving as ambassador to Janet Reno, the former U.S. attorney general. I am proud to have been able to arrange for Janet Reno to participate (by sending a note to her during a lecture of hers that I attended) and I have such wonderful memories of escorting her to the park and around the Walk site – twice.

Because I have been at so many walks, I have dozens of other great memories.  I’m pleased to say that I have missed only two PUWs since I learned of the event – once when I was in Australia for the Olympics and once when a business event conflicted with the date. When I haven’t been at the event, I have worked before and after the Walk with event planning, publicity and fundraising. It has been gratifying to see the growth of the Walk, with thousands more people now participating and with so many more people now aware of the disease.

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