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Archive for the ‘Fundraising’ Category

I Know a Guy Who Knows a Guy…

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

IKnowaGuy

Anyone who has watched the  critically-acclaimed series Breaking Bad remembers the criminal attorney, Saul Goodman and his infamous line, “I know a guy who knows a guy.” Saul’s network was significantly more unsavory than mine or yours but like Saul, we all tap into our network regularly. Sometimes, we need to be mindful of who is in our network and the resources that are available to us.

I recently had lunch with one of our walkers. We’ve had many conversations before – about her team, her mom and her extended family but I never knew where she worked. It turns out that she works for the Digital Media group of a major magazine publishing corporation that produces content for some of the leading brands in the industry.  Once we got to talking, we both realized that she potentially has the ability to have one of the magazine’s websites do a story on Parkinson’s disease during Parkinson’s Awareness Month. At the very least, she can ask.

In speaking with Fran Berkowitz, one of our walkers who lives near our office in New Jersey, I came to learn that her son, Ron owns Berk Communications, a public relations firm in New York City. We reached out to Ron and we are grateful that he has generously offered the services of his PR firm on a pro bono basis to help promote the 2015 Unity Walk. He is committed to doing what he can to support the Unity Walk. Offering his firm’s expertise is within the realm of what he can do. It turns out that the staff member in his firm assigned to the Walk has a grandmother who is living with Parkinson’s disease. She is bringing her passion for the cause in addition to her expertise.

The vendor we use to purchase the PUW t-shirts each year was in our office not that long ago. Casually, in conversation she mentioned that she knows the Chief Administrative Officer of Rite Aid. I immediately asked if she would be willing to introduce us to him. Based on that introduction, the Rite Aid Foundation is generously donating 11,000 water bottles for distribution at the Unity Walk.

These are just a few examples of how we’ve tapped into our network to benefit the Walk. We encourage you to do the same. Be mindful of who is in your network and how they might be able to support the Unity Walk. Yes, it’s about making a donation but there are many additional ways that individuals you know can provide their support. Think about where they work, who they know, their connections in their community, etc. People, who care about you and your loved ones, want to be helpful. Sometimes, they just need to be asked. Who knows, they just may know a guy who knows the right guy to make a positive difference.

PS – For your viewing pleasure, Better Call Saul premieres on February 8th and 9th on AMC.

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.

Stepping It Up Via Fundraisers

Monday, September 29th, 2014

Capture1231While Walk Day is held every April, supporters fundraise all year long to raise dollars for life changing research.  In this newsletter, you’ll learn about the fundraisers that our teams and walkers have proven to be a success.  Check out stories about milestone celebrations, restaurant fundraisers, exercise events, and planning a local walk in your community.

Click here for our newsletter about fundraisers.

Our next edition of Stepping It Up will be about fundraisers — so don’t miss our next email update, sign up for email alerts here.

Creating a Walk in Your Local Community

Saturday, September 6th, 2014

What do Alabama, Tennessee and Indiana all have in common? In each of these states, people living with Parkinson’s disease, have taken it upon themselves to create a local walk in their community to raise funds on behalf of the Unity Walk. These are not institutional undertakings. Similar to the Unity Walk in its earliest days, these are grassroots events, organized by volunteers.

Alabama-walk-for-blog-540

Did you ever leave the Parkinson’s Unity Walk in New York’s Central Park and wonder why you don’t have a Parkinson’s walk in your home town? That’s the question Jeri Boyd asked herself on her way home from the first Unity Walk she attended in 2012. She posed the question to her two friends who had traveled with her to the Walk from Birmingham, AL, while they were still on the plane ride home. Without hesitation, they were on board and the Alabama Parkinson’s Fighters Walk was born. Their walks in 2013 and 2014 and have raised over $13,000 and $17,000 in those  years respectively. 100% of the funds raised by their team have been donated to the Unity Walk and a number of their team mates continue to travel to the Walk in New York each year.

PK-Hope-is-Alive-for-web-54

Karen Sampsell, of PK Hope is Alive is one of the Unity Walk’s strongest supporters and she has never stepped foot in Central Park. Karen started a local walk in Oak Ridge, TN as her way of participating in the Unity Walk without ever making the trip to NY. Her support group, The Parkinson’s Group of East Tennessee, sponsors their local walk and all funds raised are donated to the Unity Walk. They selected the Unity Walk as the organization they want to support because 100% of donations fund research and are distributed to seven major Parkinson’s organizations. The 3rd Annual PK Hope is Alive Walk was held in March, 2014 and raised close to $19,000.

Evansville-walk-2012-540

Karen Smith was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at the age of 43. She had a vision – to raise awareness of Parkinson’s disease and funds for research – and partnered with several friends to create the Stomp Out Parkinson’s Walk in Evansville, IN. The first walk was held in 2006 and the walk is now in its 9th year.

Donations made by sponsors, family, and friends have resulted in the Evansville walk’s raising over $81,000 for research for Parkinson’s disease since its inception and they’re still going strong. This year’s walk will be held on October 18th. Their walk has consistently placed them among the Unity Walk’s top 50 teams. Karen Smith has since passed the baton to others in her community. Janice McGennis, along with a walk committee, now organizes the event. This cause is deeply personal for Janice as well. Several of her family members live with Parkinson’s disease and this is her way of actively making a difference.

Fundraising walks, regardless of size, are an opportunity for members of the Parkinson’s community to gather, experience a sense of camaraderie, provide resources and information, raise funds for research AND have a good time with one another. If you are thinking of creating a walk in your home town, please get in touch with us.

Incorporating Parkinson’s Exercise Into Fundraisers

Friday, September 5th, 2014

Exercise is healthy for everyone and research has shown that regular exercise can make a significant difference in improving the quality of life for those living with Parkinson’s disease. What’s the best kind of exercise? It’s the exercise you’ll actually do!

A number of our walkers have decided to incorporate exercise into their fundraisers on behalf of the Unity Walk. The range of options are only limited by your interests. Here are just a few examples.

Team Rossi’s Zumbathon

Zumbathon2014web1
Vanessa MacNeal first participated in the Unity Walk in 2012, shortly after she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Encouraged by the support of her friends and family, she wanted to create a fundraiser in the fall to keep the momentum going after April’s Walk. She enjoyed Zumba and thought it might be a good idea for her fundraiser. All she had to do was ask and the response was a resounding “YES” Her friend who is a Zumba instructor agreed to lead the class, her pastor allowed her to use space in her church at no charge, and a friend lent her a professional grade sound equipment.

Vanessa wondered if anyone would come and was overjoyed when friends, family, neighbors, and friends of friends, all started coming through the door. They brought with them their generosity and their willingness to have fun. The music was pumping and people were smiling. Vanessa was proud to see so many people participating. The event was such a success that Team Rossi’s second annual Zumbathon was held the following fall and is now an annual tradition.

Debina’s Dream’s Volley for a Cure

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Put together a supportive and caring staff with a bit of a competitive spirit and you’ve got the makings for Debina’s Dream’s Volley for a Cure. When Debbie Flamini, the school secretary announced that she’d been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and was planning to participate in the Unity Walk, the wheels started turning. What started out as a few people suggesting a Volleyball Game Fundraiser between the 5th and 6th grade staff, quickly grew to something much bigger! When word got out, a committee was formed, and the entire staff (over 100 employees) volunteered to donate food, play volleyball and work the event. The event, held in the gym at the Hartford School in Mt. Laurel, NJ for the past three years, has become an annual tradition.

According to Debbie, “Having a fundraiser is so much more than raising money. It’s also more than raising awareness. It is the most powerful way for anyone with Parkinson’s to feel all the love and support that is likely there for you. All you have to do is ask.”

Team Kohan’s Play for Parkinson’s

Team-Kohan-web
Jeff and Denise Kohan are an integral part of their community — they still have school age children and spend much of their time taking their kids from one sports activity to the next. It occurred to them that they could create a fundraiser by partnering with the town’s baseball/softball league. With the support of the Hillsdale’s Recreation Director and President of the Baseball and Softball Association, “Play for Parkinson’s” was created! It included a 3-inning single elimination tournament for younger children and a homerun derby for the older ones. There were sponsor donations, event t-shirts, decorations on the field and lots of food followed by an event at the town swim club. Over 250 children participated!

The Kohans met so many people from their town and heard many stories of those who have been or are affected by Parkinson’s disease. Everyone was so supportive and Team Kohan’s event went a long way to raising awareness as well as raising funds for Parkinson’s research. Denise states that “Hillsdale, NJ is a small town with a big heart.” That may be the case but their level of support is a reflection of their strong connection to the Kohan family.