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Archive for the ‘Teams’ Category

Young Onset Support Group of Westchester/Bronx

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

Teams are at the core of the Parkinson’s Unity Walk and they come in many sizes with various affiliations – family teams, corporate teams, and support group teams. Young Onset Support Group of Westchester/Bronx is a great example of a support group that meets all year round AND participates together in PUW. This is their 12th year at the Unity Walk!

Helaine Isaacs
PUW Event Director

YOPD Support Group of Westchester/Bronx with May May Ali at 2016 PUW

In March 2004, George and Norma Jensen, both of whom have Parkinson’s disease, recognized the need for a support group for those with young onset Parkinson’s disease in the Westchester, New York area.  In January 2005, they secured a meeting room at White Plains Hospital, advertised with neurologists, and waited. After four months a few members showed up, then a few more.  Early members included Anthony Fente, Bob Roach, Anne Dowling, Janet Stram and Alex Abraham. We invited guest speakers to keep us informed and started planning social events to have some fun. We developed a trusting, supportive environment where our voices could be heard.

The group now has over 40 members. Both people living with Parkinson’s and care givers are welcome to join us.  Although we are considered a “young on-set” group we don’t turn anyone away as long as they are young at heart.  Our meetings cover a variety of topics including latest treatments, medications, symptoms, strategies for coping with work, sleep, life. All subjects are open for discussion at our monthly meetings.  We have formed true friendships and know that we can pick up the phone and talk to someone who understands our unique challenges. We are actively involved with the Parkinson’s community and share information and resources.

The first year we joined the Parkinson’s Unity Walk, Norma made a beautiful banner and left room at the bottom to add in subsequent years.  The banner has accompanied our group now for 12 Unity Walks.  It’s a reminder to keep up the fight, to support each other, and take care of ourselves.

We are proud of our group and the amazing networking that has placed our team (without any corporate sponsorship) in the top ten teams nationally for a number of years.  Last year, we had 21 registered walkers with many more joining us at the Walk and together, raised $17,314. At first many of us were shy about asking friends and relatives for donations.  What we began to realize is that people want to help.

Many of us have increased our donations by getting our social media savvy children involved. One example is Janet and Danny Stram’s son Scott who, year after year with the help of social media, collects thousands of dollars for his mother’s cause.

Alex Abraham, active member and facilitator of our group, discovered a talent for fundraising.  He begins fundraising for the Unity Walk in the fall and gives anyone and everyone he encounters the opportunity to contribute.  Alex’s philosophy is that it makes people feel good to donate and he has been very successful obtaining face to face donations.  He always has donation forms on him, keeps records of everyone who donates and contacts them from year to year.

Another aspect of the Unity Walk is the opportunity it affords for family and friends to come out and support us as we walk for a cure.  The atmosphere is positive, the walk through Central Park pleasant, the solidarity evident. Living with Parkinson’s disease is challenging but the day of the Unity Walk is always about hope.

Alex Abraham, Team Captain and Anne Dowling, Team Member
Young Onset Support Group of Westchester/Bronx

 

 

 

Not Just a Walk in the Park – Perrigo Walks for Parkinson’s!

Monday, February 13th, 2017

Over 85% of PUW participants walk proudly with their teams. In addition to the many family teams that participate in the Walk, there are corporate teams, support group teams, and teams from programs that train healthcare professionals to work with members of the Parkinson’s community. Team Perrigo is a wonderful example of a corporate team that was looking for an opportunity for their employees to come out in support of a worthy cause. You can only imagine how pleased we were when they called to ask about creating a corporate team and then suggested that we apply for a grant request from their company’s foundation. We are grateful to Perrigo’s generous support of the 2016 Unity Walk – they donated $10,000! – and are delighted that their team will return in 2017.

Helaine Isaacs
PUW Event Director

Team Perrigo enjoying the 2016 Parkinson’s Unity Walk!

Providing high-quality healthcare products all over the world since the early 1900s, it was only fitting that Perrigo Company should partner with the Parkinson’s Unity Walk (PUW) to contribute to researching this neurodegenerative brain disorder.

Perrigo Company and the PUW have more than a few common interests, but the two that are most obvious to me are: Healthcare and Community.

Healthcare
Brushing the surface of both organizations, our mission statements revolve around improving global health and happiness.  Perrigo develops, manufactures, and distributes high quality healthcare products at affordable prices.  Perrigo’s facility in the Bronx manufactures over-the-counter topical products such as the less expensive store brand anti-itch cream you rub on your child’s itchy bug bites and the lice shampoo that you grudgingly scrub into your child’s hair as you wash every linen item in the house.  Admirably, PUW supports the same theme – researching a disease that results in so many people living with debilitating symptoms every single day in order to identify appropriate forms of relief.  This is the foundation of Perrigo’s common ground with the Parkinson’s Unity Walk organization.

Community
Both Perrigo Company and PUW have a strong sense of community.   I’d like to focus for a second on the Community Service Committee that my colleagues, Chris and Clare helped me to initiate in 2014.  This might help you understand how we got involved with the Parkinson’s Unity Walk in the first place.  The three of us looked around and saw 500 passionate, hardworking employees at our facility in the Bronx – and an opportunity to bring them all together for a good cause.  That is why we started the Community Service Committee.  Since then, we have participated in events to support research for cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, and, of course, Parkinson’s disease. We’ve hosted back-to-school drives for children in need in the Bronx and allocated over $100,000 from the Perrigo Company Charitable Foundation to various causes supporting healthcare and education.

Inviting our employees to participate in PUW gave us yet another opportunity to bring our employees together for a great cause and for that we are grateful. That being said, PUW’s contribution to the community is obvious – organizing an impactful event that brings people together from all over the world.  After attending the thank you reception for top fundraisers the night before the Walk, the sense of community was obvious as people shared poems and speeches about traveling across the country for numerous years to attend this Walk. The love and support in the room was overwhelming and I found myself truly touched by the words of strangers supporting each other through their Parkinson’s journeys.

I’ve witnessed similar love and support at Perrigo in the Bronx.  When I first started at Perrigo as a Production Supervisor, one of my employees fell very ill and I was deeply moved by the efforts of a co-worker to collect donations from other employees who wanted to help – some of whom didn’t even know her personally.   That environment of love and support is not easy to match – but I know we’ve found it with the Parkinson’s Unity Walk.

We look forward to supporting the Parkinson’s Unity Walk for years to come.  Thank you for this opportunity to share our story with you.

Rachel Brown
Perrigo Company

Charity Can Begin at Work In Addition to Beginning at Home

Friday, November 11th, 2016

There’s the old adage – “Charity begins at home” – but for some of our walkers, it might be updated to “Charity begins at work.” In March, 2017, we posted a write up on our blog about HomeServe’s charity pitch. Employees were encouraged to present a charity that is near and dear to them and their families, to a panel of their peers and company leadership. A company-wide vote was then taken to select the top three charities. The Parkinson’s Unity Walk was one of three charities selected from sixteen submissions. HomeServe matched every donation dollar for dollar and donated an additional $1,000 to each organization in the contest. In total, their team raised almost $15,000!

HomeServe’s commitment to community service was recognized recently by the Connecticut Better Business Bureau. The awarded HomeServe with the 2016 Marketplace Excellence Award in the Community Care category. We congratulate HomeServe on this well-deserved acknowledgement from the local business community!

bbb-award-1120161
Many companies encourage their employees to give back to their community by getting involved in organizations that are meaningful to them. How they refer to this function may vary company to company but the intent is the same. It may be as simple as speaking to one of the Human Resource representatives in your company to ask if they have a program to promote employee engagement. Please consider reaching out to someone at your place of business to find out how this is accomplished in your company.

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

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

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!

Monday, May 9th, 2016

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!