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First Ever European Unity Walk to Take Place in Two Months


The following is a guest news item by Dominic Graham, on behalf of the European Parkinson’s Disease Association (EPDA)

(Amsterdam, July 28, 2012)  The European Parkinson’s Disease Association (EPDA) is organising the first ever European Unity Walk* – a unique event that aims to raise awareness across Europe about Parkinson’s disease and its impact on people living with the disease, their families and our entire society.

Momentous 1.6-km procession to unite hundreds of supporters from across Europe.

The EPDA is encouraging people from all over the world with an interest in Parkinson’s to join them on Friday, the 28th of September, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.  With two months to go before the big day, more than 300 people from 20 countries have so far registered and the umbrella organisation is hoping for plenty more to sign up before the big day.

“The momentous, 1.6-kilometre procession will bring together hundreds of our friends and supporters from across Europe, including the Parkinson’s Unity Walk® held in New York, U.S., which will be represented by its Executive Director, Carol Walton, who will make a guest appearance and present a welcome message in the morning,” said EPDA President, Knut-Johan Onarheim.  

In attendance during the European event's steering committee meetings, the U.S.-held Unity Walk has proved to be a major inspiration for the EPDA’s walk as well as the Danish Parkinson’s organisation (Parkinsonforeningen), which organised its own Parkinson Unity Walk – Copenhagen* in May.

The Parkinson’s Unity Walk® held in NY, administered by The Parkinson Alliance®, is now in its 19th year. The Walk regularly attracts more than 10,000 people to New York’s Central Park every April and has now raised more than $12 million for research into finding a cure for Parkinson’s. However, its debut event in 1994 saw just 200 participate and Walton herself sees “no reason why the EPDA’s European version cannot raise the equivalent levels of awareness in the future,” she said.

Carol Walton also commented that, "If you really want to do something and be a part of what’s important to the Parkinson’s community, this European Unity Walk is going to be a great occasion to be a part of.  People should be thinking, ‘How can I afford not to be a part of that?’”

Onarheim agreed, adding: “Everyone who takes part in this exciting event will be helping us send a powerful message to the public, press and policymakers:  that people living with this progressive, chronic and complex neurodegenerative disease should be treated effectively and equally throughout Europe.”

This will not be the first time that these organisations have come together. 

Susanna Lindvall, Vice President of EPDA, first spoke in the Parkinson’s Unity Walk held in NY, in 2009.  The Copenhagen Team attended their first Unity Walk in NY in 2011.

                 EPDA, PUW NY 2009        Team Danish Parkies, PUW NY 2011

The EPDA has developed a colourful website to help publicise the event and keep the registered participants fully up to date with developments.  Go to EPDA’s website for all the latest news and to register for the first ever European Unity Walk.

*Is not affiliated with the Parkinson’s Unity Walk® held in New York.  While each organisation autonomously plans its event, we continue to work collaboratively to raise global awareness about Parkinson’s disease.

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