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Archive for the ‘Raise awareness’ 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.

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.

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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.

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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.

Younger Generation Stepping It Up

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

CaptureYoungerSince the Walk’s inception in 1994, the Parkinson’s Unity Walk is supported by walkers across multi-generations.  This edition of our newsletter is all about our walkers of the younger generation who keep stepping it up to help find the cause and cure for Parkinson’s disease.  Check out stories about how raising disease awareness is just as important as fundraising, how you can never be too young (as young as one year old) to make a difference, grandchildren stepping it up to honor a grandparent, and how unique venues such as bars can set the stage for successful fundraisers.

Click here for our newsletter dedicated to our younger generation walkers.

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.

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.

Pops-kids-blog-photo

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.