CHAMPs > CHAMP in Action

Alabama Parkinson's Fighter Walk

(March 10, 2014) - Alabama Parkinson's Fighter Walk is the brainchild of one person - Jeri Boyd. Jeri was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease four years ago.  After her diagnosis, she attended the Parkinson's Unity Walk (PUW) in New York for the first time. When she returned home to Alabama, she searched for fundraisers like the PUW in our local area and was not able to find one. That inspired her to start a walk here in Alabama, with the proceeds going to the Parkinson’s Unity Walk.  With the help of her friends Karen Virciglio, who also has PD, and Jenny Wilson, the Alabama Parkinson's Fighter Walk was born.

The walk is held at the Alabaster Veterans Park in Alabaster, Alabama.  

On March 8, 2013, the first annual walk was held. It was a great success, with over 200 walkers and over $12,000 raised. Wow! What a great accomplishment for the inaugural event!

On March 1, 2014, the second annual walk was held. It was an even greater success, with over 300 walkers and over $16,000 raised. Donations are still being counted so the final numbers aren’t in yet. The walkers consisted of people with Parkinson's, care partners, family members, co-workers, friends, members of the medical community, and people who just came out to support the cause and enjoy the park. A great time was had by all.

Volunteers worked together to obtain sponsors and reach out to donors and participants. Like the Walk in NYC, this was a day of education in addition to being a day of community and raising funds for research. There were representatives from Teva Pharmaceuticals; the Lister Hill Library and Health InfoNet of Alabama with information about health information services for the Alabama public and medical libraries; UAB Neurology Department; and NeuroRecovery, LLC., for Rehabilitation and Wellness who focused on LSVT.  

Before the walk started, we had a warm-up session led by several dance instructors who teach Dance for Parkinson's classes every week on Monday at the Lakeshore Foundation and on Thursday at the Alabama Ballet. This was a fun way to get ready to start the walk.

Refreshments were donated as well as goodie bags for the children. Thanks to the generosity of sponsors, donors and participants, the walk is continuing to grow every year.  

The money raised from this event is used to support research through the Parkinson's Unity Walk to help find a cure for this life challenge called Parkinson's.

To coin a phrase from Jeri Boyd, there is what she calls PDBs...Parkinson's Disease Blessings...that come from having this progressive challenge in life. Life is never the same after you hear the words "You have Parkinson's” but the PDB's that become a part of your life afterwards are truly a Blessing!

The third annual walk is already scheduled for March 7, 2015 so mark your calendars! Looking forward to what lies ahead for the Alabama Parkinson's Fighter Walk in the years to come and how the money raised will one day help lead to a cure. Won't that be a great day!

Karon Link
Team Member, Alabama Parkinson’s Fighter Walk