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You are Making a Difference: Kick-off Reception


February 7th, 2007
You are Making a Difference: Kick-off Reception
By Trina Stokes

February 7th marked the kick-off for the 2007 Parkinson’s Unity Walk. It was a chilly evening in Manhattan for this yearly reception that brings together Board Members, Volunteers, Team Captains and Sponsors that help make the Walk a success. Inside the mood was warm as everyone came to show their support for the event and was looking forward to Saturday, April 28th.

Carol Walton, Executive Director of The Parkinson Alliance and Board Member of the Unity Walk, started the program by giving a history of the Walk and explaining how the early volunteers forged ahead to make the Unity Walk what it is today. “Last year’s event had over 10,000 people and raised almost $1.5 million for research and this year our goal is $2 million. We have come a long way,” stated Carol.

The evening was a perfect occasion to present Kenneth Aidekman, co-founder of the Unity Walk an “Excellence in Service Award”. Martin Tuchman, Chairman of the Unity Walk, made an eloquent speech about Ken. “I consider Ken to be a pioneer in the Parkinson’s community. I feel fortunate over the past years to have met my share of pioneers—but, one I feel has made the most impact on the lives of thousands of people in the Parkinson’s community is Ken, who in 1994, with Margot Zobel, founded the Parkinson’s Unity Walk.”

Trina Stokes, the Event Director, continued the program by introducing the Team Captains of USA PD Pals—Annie Konopka of New Jersey and Judy Hensley from Tennessee. They made their debut at the 12th Parkinson’s Unity Walk, had over 30 families and friends walk that day, and raised over $17,000—that’s an amazing number for their first year. These two ladies have tackled their diagnosis in more ways than one. They gave an inspiring speech and provided examples of how they raised donations. They ended their speech with a surprise by presenting a $7000 check to the Unity Walk.

We are proud and grateful that our generous sponsors make it possible for us to continue to say that 100% of the contributions sent to the Unity Walk go directly to the major Parkinson’s foundations for research. For 2007, this event is made possible by our premier sponsor, Boehringer Ingelheim, and others that include Medtronic, Inc., Novartis, Schwarz Pharma, Teva Neuroscience, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, and Vernalis.

View Photos from the Event.