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April Showers Bring May Flowers – Team Impax Got a Little Wet at the Unity Walk but It Was Worth It!

May 25th, 2016 by Guest Blogger

The Parkinson’s Unity Walk is grateful to all of our sponsors who generously support the Walk. It is their sponsorship dollars that allow us to keep our commitment that 100% of every dollar raised by our walkers supports Parkinson’s research.

Impax is one of the corporate sponsors of the 2016 Unity Walk and they have taken their sponsorship model to new heights by creating a successful fundraising team that involved their employees, in addition to serving as the sponsor of the Team Photo booth at the Walk. Read about their “secret sauce” – all the ways they were proactive in encouraging their employees to get involved and providing fun incentives to make this happen. Their model is a testament to their corporate culture and their senior leadership teams’ commitment to this cause. We hope that other sponsors look to this as a model they may incorporate into their sponsorship of the Walk.

Helaine Isaacs
PUW Event Director

PUW-16-walk_GLO5346Team Impax
It may have rained in Central Park the day of the PUW, but that did not dampen the spirits of Team Impax. Impax is a specialty pharmaceutical company that is committed to making a difference in the communities where we live and work. Our senior leadership believes it is important to invest in responsible corporate citizenship and champion causes that align with business objectives.

Our company sponsored the PUW Team Photo Booth, one of the most popular attractions at the Walk.  Impax employees, family, and friends also did a phenomenal fundraising job, with 52 registered walkers raising a total of $12,508 for the cause! We did this a number of ways:

1. To launch our fundraising effort and get employees excited about participating, we hosted a kick off rally. With the help of the PUW staff, a Parkinson’s patient spoke to our employees about her diagnosis and what it is like to live with Parkinson’s disease. Our senior leadership also presented at the rally to reaffirm the company’s commitment. We also provided refreshments and prize drawings for attendees.

2.  An Event Committee of cross-functional team members was formed.  These committee members are volunteers who are passionate about doing for others and served as champions of the event throughout the organization.  Part of our “secret sauce” entailed:

o Having a team captain who is persistent and passionate about the cause and is senior enough in the organization to be able to work with the leadership team;

o Partnering with our Corporate Communications group to promote activities, provide regular fundraising updates, and engage employees;

o Forming an Executive Steering Committee to ensure we were complying with all corporate policies.  Their participation also served as an endorsement of the importance of the event;

o Setting a corporate financial goal is essential. It provides a valuable roadmap for knowing where you want to go and keeps everyone rowing in the same direction; and

o Having a CEO who supported our fundraising efforts by posing a challenge to employees that he would personally contribute $5,000 if we met our corporate goal and an additional $2,500 if we met our stretch goal. (The PUW is one of three Parkinson’s walks our Company is supporting so this challenge encompassed all three organizations).  So far, we have exceeded our corporate goal.

3. Establishing a budget to provide Team T-shirts and to offer fundraising incentives and drawings, including logo gear such as umbrellas for the event.

4.  Recognizing star fundraisers or those who have gone above and beyond in helping the cause.

5. Making the event day a family event – including offering roundtrip transportation and bringing team gear and snacks to the event.

6.  Sending out thank you letters to all of those that supported the event.

We are so proud of Team Impax.  Their efforts exemplify our core values and commitment to the communities where we live and work.

Robin Bartlett
Team Captain, Team Impax
Team Impax bus shot

Team Impax check presentation to PUW

 

 

Calling All Team T-shirts!

May 9th, 2016 by Helaine Isaacs, Event Director

Finished quilt outside

Many of our teams proudly wore their team t-shirts at the Unity Walk in April, displaying their bright colors, clever team names and creative designs. Do you see your 2015 team t-shirt in the photo above? The top 50 team captains will be entered into a raffle drawing to win a PUW memory quilt made up of approximately 50 team t-shirts from the 2016 Unity Walk. If you didn’t submit your team t-shirt at the Team Photo booth at the Walk, there’s still time to have your team t-shirt included in the 2016 PUW memory quilt. Please mail it to the Unity Walk office at PO Box 275, Kingston, NJ 08528. The Unity Walk reserves the right to select which t-shirts to include in the quilt.

Having your team t-shirt be a part of this quilt symbolizes the part you play in the Unity Walk. We couldn’t create this quilt without you!

 

Winner of 2016 PUW Your Favorite Walk Moment Contest Announced

May 5th, 2016 by Parkinson's Unity Walk Team

Congratulations to Shannon Williams, team captain of Team Old Skool for winning the social media contest on Walk Day by submitting her photo on Instagram and tagging it with #puw2016 @unitywalk. The prize is a hooded PUW sweatshirt. A little rain didn’t dampen the spirits of Team Old Skool who walk in honor of Shannon’s dad.

A little rain can’t stop us.. #weluvbigjoe #puw2016

A photo posted by Shannon Marie (@roses099) on

We are grateful to Shannon and all our walkers who raised awareness of the Unity Walk and PD by posting their Walk photos and favorite moments.

Winner from 2015
Winner from 2014

The Today Show 4.22.16 – Join Us!!!

April 17th, 2016 by Helaine Isaacs, Event Director

Today Show 30-rock2-MeetHere
Joining the Unity Walk on the plaza of the Today Show on Friday, April 22nd just got easier! May May Ali, Parkinson’s advocate and PUW supporter, and Carol Walton, CEO of The Parkinson Alliance will both be interviewed on the plaza of the Today Show on Friday morning and all Unity Walkers are invited to show your support by joining us. We’ll be there wearing PUW t-shirts, carrying PUW signs and banners, and making some noise – all to raise awareness of the Unity Walk!

Now that we’ve confirmed May May and Carol’s interview, our group is guaranteed great placement on the plaza. We will meet in front of the main entrance to 30 Rockefeller Plaza between 6:00-6:15am. That’s the building that the Christmas tree is in front of in the winter. Rockefeller Plaza runs between 49th and 50th Streets and is parallel to and in between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. At approximately 6:15am, a staff person from the Today Show will escort us onto the plaza behind the spot where May and Carol’s interview will take place. If you arrive after 6:15am, find a staff person at the front of the line on West 48th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues and tell them you’re with the Parkinson’s Unity Walk. They will arrange for you to meet our group on the plaza. You can also call me on my cell when you arrive and I can call a staff person for you. My cell number is 609-651-9155. If you arrive past 6:30am when they let the general public onto the plaza, we will do our best to hold a spot for you with our group but we can’t guarantee it at that point.

Join the Facebook Event for our gathering at the Today Show. Let us know that you’re going and invite friends and family to join us.

We hope you can join us in person. If you’re watching from home, check your local listings to tune in! Follow the updates via our event hashtag #puw2016 and let us know you’re with us in spirit!

Helaine Isaacs
PUW Event Director

It Works to Fundraise at Work!

March 30th, 2016 by Guest Blogger

I speak with our walkers every day and hear all the creative ways they are going about raising funds for Parkinson’s research. Most of our walkers reach out to their family and friends, download our Facebook app and some create fundraising events. Some have partnered with their places of business to raise funds in support of the Unity Walk. We are grateful for the generosity of so many of these companies. HomeServe USA is involving their employees to support Kristin Legenza, a longstanding participant in the Walk, in her effort to raise funds for PUW. Read Kristin’s guest blog post below.

Does your company provide an opportunity to support your fundraising efforts? Maybe they do and it’s something you haven’t explored up until now. This is the perfect time to look into these options. Are you already raising funds at work? Please let us know. We’d love to hear from you!

Helaine Isaacs
PUW Event Director

Stephanie_Kristen_PUW

This year marks Team Legenza’s 6th year participating in the Parkinson’s Unity Walk. I walk for two reasons – my Grandpa Jack and my Dad. Growing up, my Grandpa had Parkinson’s for many years and it eventually took his life. A few years before he passed, my Dad was diagnosed with this debilitating disease as well. My sisters and I knew we wanted to get involved but just didn’t know how. My sister found the Unity Walk online and we immediately started to participate in the Walk and raise funds to find a cure for Parkinson’s disease. It is an amazing family event that we are extremely lucky to be a part of. Every year we try and do more, and luckily I was able to fundraise through work.

I work for a company in Norwalk, CT called HomeServe USA. We often participate in what the office calls “Jeans Passes.” If you donate to the charity chosen by HR, you can wear jeans every day to the office for a certain amount of time. A few months ago, employees were invited to make a presentation to the executives about the charity of our choice and reasons why that charity should selected for this kind of fundraising opportunity. The executives then chose three charities that our employees would contribute to this year. Pushing out of my comfort zone, I took a stand with a colleague of mine and told my peers why the Unity Walk is important to me and what a great experience it is. I spoke about an event where people come together to raise awareness and funds to cure a disease that impacts so many lives and families. I shared my experience of being at the Walk, and what it’s like to come together with a group of people who feel what I feel and who support one another as we stand up and fight.

Sixteen charities were presented and the Unity Walk was chosen as one of the top three. Donations are pouring in and I could not be more grateful to work for a company that supports me and the challenges I face outside of work. Not only are the people I work with donating to PUW, but my company, HomeServe USA, matches every donation dollar for dollar. In addition, HomeServe USA donated $1,000 to each charity that was presented as part of the contest.

People say that anyone can make a difference. After this experience I believe this to be true. Due to my company and my colleague’s generosity, I am part of an effort that is significantly increasing the amount of money raised for research and I couldn’t be more excited! I stepped outside of my comfort zone and shared with my colleagues a personal part of my life that I had previously kept very private. As hard as it was to do, I would do it all over again because I was able to make a difference. If we are willing to ask, people are eager to help do their part to find a cure for a disease that affects so many lives immensely, including my own.

Step out of your comfort zone, remind people of not only the hardships of the disease, but the benefits that come from gathering as a community at the Unity Walk. Fundraise any chance you get. I did and I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished. We each have the capacity to make a difference.

Kristin Legenza
Team Captain, Team Legenza