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Archive for the ‘Teams’ Category

A Message From Elizabeth Gold, Team Captain of Team Duke, 2014 PUW Top Rookie Team

Sunday, April 5th, 2015

How Team Duke’s Unity Walk experience unfolded resulting in them becoming our 2014 Top Rookie Team

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I discovered the 2014 Unity Walk while I was on maternity leave late last winter trying to juggle the high of having a healthy, new little boy and the low of watching my Dad in the throes of his fight with Parkinson’s. I was bouncing along that emotional spectrum one night researching ways to support both of my parents when I came across the website for the Unity Walk. I registered in the wee hours of the morning, created Team Duke in honor of my dad, and signed up to walk. It was a snap decision and I’m so glad that I did it.

I wasn’t sure what to expect since I had never directly solicited money through a walk or run. And I also wasn’t sure what to expect by so publicly acknowledging my dad’s illness. He was a private man, and while he certainly didn’t endeavor to hide his disease, he was the type of to deal with adversity privately rather than communally. I am cut from the same cloth, so it took me several days of writing and rewriting my solicitation email before I finally sent it off to my family and friends.

I set a goal of $5,000 which seemed too high, but why not? And then people started responding and I reached my $5,000 goal within two weeks. It was amazing and inspiring to me. I think our family and friends were relieved to be able to support my dad – even just financially – because they were feeling as helpless as I was. And the donations all arrived with messages of support. I loved sharing them with my parents, and it made my dad feel like he wasn’t in this alone. I quickly increased my goal to $7,500 and then $10,000 as the donations continued to come in. A few weeks before the event, I was feeling comfortable and confident enough to use the Walk’s social media tools like the Facebook app. I happily was surprised to hear from old acquaintances and friends on Facebook who offered their support and donated to Team Duke as well. I am grateful and thankful that Team Duke ended up raising the most money of any rookie team. Selfishly it is a source of pride since this was so personal, but the truth is that the funds made a tangible difference last year in helping to raise money for research. This is a terrible disease and we need to find a cure.

As much as I was dreading the fundraising aspect of the Walk, it turned out to be an uplifting experience for me and my family. It is easy to ask for money for Parkinson’s because I’ve had a front row seat to its impact on a loved one. And because 100% of the proceeds raised by the Unity Walk go to research, it is an even easier ask. You just have to send that first email!

The Unity Walk is a joyous and vibrant event. And everyone who attends understands immediately that this is a community of patients and caretakers, family and friends who are all in this together. It is such an uplifting morning and you can’t help but leave Central Park feeling like the glass is half full. Full of life and living.

Good luck to everyone. Team Duke looks forward to the honor of leading off this year’s walk on April 25th.

Elizabeth Gold
Team Captain, Team Duke

New York State of Mind

Monday, March 30th, 2015

I have the pleasure of opening the mail each day – and this time of year it is truly a pleasure to see all those checks arriving on a daily basis! One of our walkers, Doug Nemeth does an active mail campaign in addition to soliciting online donations and his donations are coming in strong. You can only imagine my surprise when I learned that Doug isn’t able to attend the Walk this year. It’s for a great reason – his son is receiving his doctorate in pharmacology. Doug “gets” the Walk. While he loves the experience of participating each year, he understands that at the end of the day, you don’t have to physically be at the Walk to raise funds for research and his donors understand that as well. Doug will end up raising as much this year as he has in the past when he’s walked in Central Park.

Life happens and things come up that may keep you from attending the Walk one year. We hope you will take Doug’s lead and continue to fundraise. This is one instance that you don’t have to be in it, to win it. Just like the lyrics to Billy Joel’s song, Doug is in a “New York State of Mind.”

Read on to hear from Doug Nemeth of team Livin’ La Levodopa directly …

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I was diagnosed 10 years ago with Parkinson’s disease. At the time I had no idea what Parkinson’s disease would do to my life. I feel that the quality of my life is better now than it was 10 years ago! This has a lot to do with my wife, family and friends. Much of this is due to the hard work of researchers funded by the Unity Walk.

Many of the friends we’ve made these last 10 years have been through the Parkinson’s family. I say family because we feel like brothers and sisters. We have made many friends through our support group.

Through this support group I learned of the Parkinson’s Unity Walk in New York City’s Central Park. Though all of us share some symptoms of the disease and not others, we all share one common desire – to beat Parkinson’s disease. By supporting the Unity Walk we are putting 100% of our donations into research that gives us and our children the chance at a life without Parkinson’s disease. I have been attending the Parkinson’s Unity Walk since 2009. We have a hard-working, proud, and loving team called “Livin’ La Levodopa.” It has been rewarding beyond what I ever imagined. Thousands of people coming together with love in their hearts for all the people around them and/or loved ones lost to this disease. We are driven to do all we can to beat PD and that is why I participate in the Unity Walk.

This year I’m the proud father of a son who is graduating from University of Pittsburgh with a Doctor of Pharmacy. Who knows? Maybe he will be the one who finds the cure. Unfortunately, the graduation is the same day as the Unity Walk in New York City. My priorities are in order and I will enjoy the entire weekend with my son at graduation. A big part of my heart will be with everyone in New York City that day.

That has not kept us from fundraising even though we won’t physically be at the Walk. So far, we’ve raised close to $4500 and we’re still going strong with close to four weeks left until the Walk. After all, it’s not about the physical walk. It’s about raising awareness, demonstrating support, and raising funds for research. The fundraising has gone well again this year. We are blessed to have many people who care so much and give of their time and resources. My wife and I have raised over $34,000 since 2009 for the Parkinson’s Unity Walk. My team,”Livin’ La Levodopa” has raised over $157,000 since its inception.

We are making a difference. Many thanks to all who have contributed. We could not do it without you.

That is why I am in a “New York state of mind.”

Doug Nemeth
“Livin’ La Levodopa”

Lights! Camera! Action!

Monday, February 16th, 2015

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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.

This Year’s Memory Quilt is Done! And the 2014 Recipient is …

Friday, November 21st, 2014
2014 Parkinson's Unity Walk Quilt

2014 Parkinson’s Unity Walk Quilt

Each year, the Parkinson’s Unity Walk has a drawing for the top 50 team captains. The winner receives a memory quilt comprised of team t-shirts from the current Walk. This year’s winner is David Lee, Team Captain of Team James Lee. Congrats to David Lee and also congratulations to all eligible team captains who represented this year’s Top 50 Teams.

The 2014 Unity Walk had close to 500 teams and this is just a sampling of the creative team t-shirts that are worn proudly on the day of the Walk!

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The Unity Walk Memory Quilt was first introduced as a prize at the 19th Walk in 2013 and was received by Dan Lamendola of “A RI Team Since 1997.”

2013 Parkinson's Unity Walk Quilt

2013 Parkinson’s Unity Walk Quilt

You too can be in the running to receive the Memory Quilt from the 2015 Parkinson’s Unity Walk. All you need to do is start your team early so that you can get started on your fundraising and rally your family and friends, and be among the top 50 team captains!

For more about the quilt, join the conversation on our Facebook Page.

Grandchildren Stepping It Up to Honor a Grandparent

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

Grandchildren take an active role in honor of their grandparents

Family is often the tie that binds us to one another. It is always inspiring when family members walk in support of someone they love at the Parkinson’s Unity Walk and raise funds for research. It’s especially satisfying to see grandchildren stepping up and taking an active role in finding the cause and cure for Parkinson’s disease.

Melanie and Stephen Ahron walk for their grandfather, “Pop” who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease over twenty years ago. He fought this disease with resolve and dignity and had his own “secret weapon” – Grandma Edith. She is five feet of pure determination. She traveled to NY this year for her first Unity Walk, and having met her at 6:00am on the plaza of the Today Show, I can attest to her energy and commitment. In facing her husband’s Parkinson’s disease, her spirit never broke and her determination never faltered. This family’s fight was a team effort.

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According to Melanie and Stephen, their Pop offered an open hand and open heart to anyone who needed it. He gave even when he didn’t have what to give. His generosity and caring have been passed along to his grandchildren. He loved nothing more than celebrating all of life’s sweet moments with friends and family. It is with this legacy of compassion and fun that Melanie and Stephen formed Team Pop’s Kids two years ago. This past winter, they created an event to raise even more funds for the Unity Walk. Team Pop’s Kids partnered with the Hudson Hotel in Manhattan to host a NCAA March Madness party. The hotel generously donated a portion of the proceeds from the event to the Unity Walk. Pop’s Kids partied for a great cause and can’t imagine a more fitting tribute to their namesake.

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Some grandchildren are still so young that they are introduced to the Unity Walk by their parents. Elizabeth Gold’s father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease four years ago. When Elizabeth began to look for a way to make a difference in her father’s battle against Parkinson’s disease, it was important to her that she find a way to involve her children. “The Parkinson’s Unity Walk seemed like the perfect vehicle to help them understand what was happening to their grandfather, their beloved ‘Big Duke,’ ” explained Elizabeth.

Elizabeth Gold attended the Walk with her husband, infant son of four months and her three older sons – ages 7, 10 and 12. Each of “Big Duke’s” grandsons wore a unique t-shirt their mom created with a photo of them sharing a favorite time with their grandfather. As Elizabeth educates her sons about their grandfather’s disease, she is also teaching them a lesson that they will carry into adulthood, about becoming an advocate for a cause that is near and dear to them. Team Duke was the top rookie team in 2014 so you’ll be seeing more of these grandsons as they have pledged to lead off the Unity Walk in 2015.

The active role these grandchildren are taking in the fight against Parkinson’s disease is a testament to their grandparent’s legacy.  If you know of other grandchildren supporting the Unity Walk, we’d like to hear from you via your comments below.