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Three Steps to Increase Your Success as a Fundraiser for the Parkinson’s Unity Walk

March 25th, 2015 by Katherine Savillo, Manager, Events
MobileApps

The “Unity Walk” Mobile App is now available via the App Store and Google Play Store. It’s one of three new tools that 2015 Unity Walk participants can use to fundraise for Parkinson’s disease research.

Thank you for joining the Unity Walk to help raise funds and awareness!  Every donation raised goes to research funded by seven major organizations, donations that provide dedicated researchers – opportunities to find a cure.  This is why we want to make fundraising as easy as possible for our registered walkers.

From talking with our top team captains and walkers, we’ve learned that successful fundraisers send out regular donation requests and reminders.  We are always searching for ways to make asking for support easier for participants and we can now announce three new tools that will help our registered walkers to fundraise!  They are a mobile application, Facebook application, and an email signature …

We are excited because in addition to sending individual emails to family and friends to ask for support, we now have these new tools for our participants!  So if you’re registered for the Parkinson’s Unity Walk, take these three steps to increase your success as you fundraise for Parkinson’s disease research:

Step 1:                        Fundraise on the go using the mobile app

For fundraisers who are always on their phone or tablet, the Unity Walk mobile app is just for you!  All from the palm of your hand you can manage and share your Unity Walk experience from your iPhone and Android devices.  You can use the app to personalize your participant page—this means updating your photo and story just got so much easier; you can upload a photo from your device!  You can connect with family and friends through social media, emails and text directly from the app.  The app also makes it easy to keep current with Walk news, giving you access to our Twitter and Facebook updates.

Participants can download the app by searching for “Unity Walk” on the App Store and Google Play Store.

Step 2:                        Expand your reach via the Facebook app

Our top fundraisers have reached their fundraising goal by asking people beyond their family and friends.  They search deep within their network and ask who else can help me with my fundraising efforts?  Because every 9 minutes someone is diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, there’s a chance that you may know someone who may know someone who has been affected by Parkinson’s.  This is why using the Parkinson’s Unity Walk Facebook App is effective because it lets you expand your reach to your friends on Facebook—the contacts you may not have updated email addresses for!

Much can be done with the Facebook app including setting your profile and cover photos.  You can schedule posts, track your progress, countdown to Walk Day, and set (and forget it!) automated newsfeed updates when you reach important milestones throughout your fundraising.

Step 3:                        Show your commitment with the email badge

Successful fundraisers find unique ways to raise awareness and show their commitment.  This is why we’ve added the Parkinson’s Unity Walk Email Signature to help you show your connection to the Unity Walk each time you send an email.

We recommend using the email signature because once installed, it lives on the bottom of each of your emails and hence a low maintenance fundraising tool.  The signature consists of a graphic that automatically updates with your fundraising progress and links back to your participant webpage!  It is supported on multiple web and desktop email clients including Gmail, Outlook, Mac Mail, Hotmail, and AOL Mail.

Because every penny we raise together goes to critical research, we hope you maximize your fundraising efforts by taking 1 … 2 … all 3 steps into your fundraising for the Parkinson’s Unity Walk.  Whichever tools you choose to download, they will surely increase your success as a fundraiser—all of our apps and email signature link back to your participant webpage which is where your friends and family can easily make their contribution and/or join you—one significant reason why these apps will make fundraising so much easier for you.

Go ahead and give them a try!  All of these new tools can be downloaded by logging into your participant headquarters.

If you need help talking through additional ideas about how you can help to raise awareness and funds, please let us know we’re here to help you!

LSVT BIG – A Personal Experience

March 23rd, 2015 by Helaine Isaacs, Event Director

(March 23, 2015) – I recently spoke to Jenny Erasmus, one of our walkers whose mom is living with Parkinson’s disease. She told me that her mom was doing incredibly well after participating in what she thought was a research project about gait and balance. I was intrigued so I called Jenny’s mom, Doreen to find out more about this research. It turns out it wasn’t research at all but LSVT BIG, a program that has proven to be helpful for those living with PD. Doreen learned about LSVT BIG at the Unity Walk, an example of the resources that are available at the Walk. Read on to learn about Doreen’s experience with LSVT BIG.

DoreenErasmus-blog-photo

Since being diagnosed with Parkinson’s there are several changes I have been forced to make in my daily life in order to cope with effects of this disease. The best decision I made was to participate in LSVT BIG, a program developed to specifically address the movement impairments for Parkinson’s patients.

LSVT BIG first caught my attention when I stopped by their booth at the Parkinson’s Unity walk in 2013. I spoke with a representative, gathered up pamphlets, and decided this was something that would be very beneficial to me. Unfortunately, the motivation to commit faded after the walk. Last year my neurologist reminded me of the program and suggested I give it a try. I resorted to my endless list of excuses – it was too far to drive, gas was too expensive, four days a week for six weeks was too much of a commitment, my dog would miss me…

Then one day something made me finally pick up the phone and call the Nayden Rehabilitation Clinic in Storrs, CT where LSVT was offered. I was invited to attend an informational session to learn more about the program and how it works. I attended the session and left knowing this was something I had to pursue. No more lame excuses!

After my first day, I knew the impact this would have on me. One of the best things about this program was working one-on-one with a trained LSVT therapist. I always felt somewhat intimidated and self-conscious joining exercise programs because sometimes I was the only Parkinson’s patient. I had a tendency for moving in the wrong direction and knocking people over. With LSVT, I didn’t have to worry about that. I was able to work with an amazingly wonderful physical therapist, Christina Colon-Somenza, who immediately made me feel comfortable. She motivated me and changed not only the way I move, but also the way I think about PD. The program is so simple – a combination of seven individual exercises and walking – yet it is so effective. The program also focuses on improving daily tasks like taking money out of my wallet and sliding into a booth at a restaurant. I was shown new techniques to accomplish these things much easier.

Ultimately, LSVT changes the way you think about moving. The focus is to take big steps, look up, and stand straight which are things my body no longer does naturally. LSVT showed me there is a way to change this. After four weeks in the program I watched myself walk down a corridor at the clinic. I saw someone in the mirror I hadn’t seen in a very long time. The woman I saw was walking straight and tall. She looked, dare I say, normal.

At my next follow-up appointment with my neurologist after I had completed LSVT, when it came time for her to observe my movement, I told her she better sit down because she won’t believe what she’s about to see. She watched me walk up and down the hall and when I finished she simply said, “Amazing.”

It has been months since I completed this program and I can still hear Christina’s voice in my head every day telling me to take big steps, look up, shoulders back! Instead of becoming frustrated and having to ask for help all the time, I can now accomplish much more by myself. For those of you out there reading this not sure if LSVT could benefit you, I say this: Get off your couch, stop making excuses (gas is cheap these days!), and find a LSVT therapist near you!  You have nothing to lose and oh so much to gain.

Doreen Erasmus
Deen’s Day Trippers

In speaking with Dr. Cynthia Fox, co-founder of LSVT, she provided the following list of questions she suggests you ask when interviewing a clinician for LSVT BIG or LSVT LOUD:

  • How many LSVT LOUD/LSVT BIG clients have you treated?
  • What are your typical outcomes?
  • Do you have a follow-up/maintenance plan for your clients?
  • Is your LSVT LOUD/LSVT BIG Certification current?
  • Do you deliver the gold standard dosage of LSVT LOUD/LSVT BIG?  (4 days a week for 4 weeks, individual 60 minute sessions, with daily homework and carryover assignments)

For more information on LSVT Global, call 1-888-438-5788 or visit their website www.lsvtglobal.com

 

Lights! Camera! Action!

February 16th, 2015 by Helaine Isaacs, Event Director

PCL1_TeamMcMossBLOG
The premiere episode of Parkinson’s CHAMP Live! on “PUW TV” was posted on our website in February and featured Team McMoss. It’s been five years since the Parkinson’s Unity Walk started featuring a Parkinson’s CHAMP each month on our website and we’ve decided it’s time to go “live.” Our walkers will continue to tell their stories but now you’ll actually get to hear their voices  out loud, rather than reading what they have to say.

We hope that listening to other walkers will remind you that you are not alone and there is an entire community supporting you in your fight against PD.

Our Parkinson’s CHAMPs represent a cross section of the Unity Walk. Some are new to the Walk; others have participated over the years. What they share is an appreciation of the sense of community that is created when thousands of people gather all committed to the same goal – finding new therapies and hopefully, one day, a cure for Parkinson’s disease.

Exercise and Parkinson’s: A Winning Combination

February 8th, 2015 by Parkinson's Unity Walk Team

There’s growing evidence that regular exercise may hold benefits for people living with Parkinson’s disease. This past week, Shots, NPR’s health news blog, published an article discussing the positive impact exercise has had on Parkinson’s patients. Click here to hear the piece that played on NPR.

Rock Steady Boxing at Gleason's Gym in New York City

Rock Steady Boxing at Gleason’s Gym in New York City

One of the programs featured in NPR’s piece was Rock Steady Boxing. This exercise regimen was created to improve the quality of life for people living with Parkinson’s disease through non-contact, boxing inspired fitness training. It started in Indianapolis and is now offered throughout the country. We extend our thanks to Marlene Kahan, a longstanding participant in the Unity Walk, for introducing us to the Rock Steady Boxing program in NYC. As a result of this introduction, we are pleased to announce that they will be providing a demonstration on the Bandshell stage at this year’s Unity Walk.

Other types of exercise featured on NPR include Tai Chi, weightlifting, cycling, drumming and dancing. You’ll be hearing more in the weeks to come from our walkers about the ways that they are doing their best to stay active and healthy.

What’s the best exercise that you can do if you are living with Parkinson’s disease? It’s the exercise that you WILL do.

Create Your Own Winning Fundraiser and Watch It Develop into an Annual Event!

February 3rd, 2015 by Parkinson's Unity Walk Team

Team-Rossi-soup-for-the-souZumbathon-and-Pasta-for-Par
This is the perfect time to start planning your fundraising event on behalf of the Parkinson’s Unity Walk. We’re just starting to hear from several of our teams to let us know that they are re-creating their successful fundraisers from last year.

Some examples are Team Rossi’s 2nd Annual Community Nights at Blue Moon Café and their 3rd Annual Zumbathon, Debina’s Dream’s 3rd Annual Volley for a Cure and 2nd Annual Soup for the Soul; Deen’s Daytrippers’ 2nd Annual Pasta for Parkinson’s; and the 3rd Annual Alabama Parkinson’s Fighter Walk.

No need to recreate the wheel! Do you see the word ANNUAL in each of those fundraiser titles? None of these walkers necessarily intended to do these events each year when they planned the first one but once they came up with their winning formula, they’ve decided to go with a sure thing. Many of these events have become a reunion of sorts and something the team’s supporters look forward to each year.

Talk to your team members. Together, brainstorm to come up with your own “winning formula.” Looking for ideas? Check out the Fundraising Event Ideas A-Z and the Parkinson’s CHAMP in Action page on our website. This is where we highlight the fundraisers our walkers create to raise funds for research. More tools are available on the Your Fundraising Events page and we’re only a phone call away if you want to discuss any of your fundraising ideas.

Look forward to hearing from you soon with your “winning formula” fundraising ideas.