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Archive for the ‘Raise awareness’ Category

PUW Memory Quilt is Done!

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

October 20, 2014 by Helaine Isaacs, PUW Event Director

2014 PUW Memory Quilt

2014 PUW Memory 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. The Walk has close to 500 teams and this is just a sampling of the creative team t-shirts that are worn proudly the day of the Walk. You can be in the running to win the memory quilt from the 2015 Unity Walk. All you need to do is register, get started on your fundraising and be among the top 50 team captains.

 

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.

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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.

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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.

Raising the Bar at Their Local Pubs

Friday, August 15th, 2014

For these teams, local bars are a successful venue for their fundraisers

Based on some of our teams, when young people want to raise funds for the Unity Walk, they often plan something they enjoy and it’s often in places where their friends will want to go—surely if you want ducks, go where the ducks are!  It often includes a drink at a local bar combined with raising money for research.  Teams Ryan’s Hope, Deen’s Day Trippers, Geli’s Piojos, and Las Nenas de Ariel did just that and were successful in raising funds for research on behalf of their loved ones.

Ever since her dad’s Parkinson’s diagnosis, Kate Harmon wanted to plan a fundraiser.  I never really knew what to do until he said, “Do something you enjoy.”  From there she created “Pints for Parkinson.”  All she did was ask her favorite bar in York, PA if they would let her host a fundraiser there and the rest is history!  It was scheduled on April 15th on the night of the tragic bombings in Boston and in spite of that, Kate didn’t let anything stop her event.  She describes it as an unforgettable night where she learned the biggest lesson from the event, “… was that people are inherently good, and we can help to change the world.”

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Like Kate Harmon, Jenny Erasmus also explained her cause to a number of bars in her neighborhood and asked if they would be willing to host an event.  As Team Captain of Deen’s Day Trippers, she wanted to plan a fundraiser at a local bar in Brooklyn, NY on behalf of her mom, Doreen, and “… as a way to get extra donations while also celebrating our team,” states Jenny.  She received so many positive responses and had to turn several bars down!  Once her venue was pinned down at Good Co., and a public Facebook event later, “Day Drinking with the Day Trippers” was born!  The word spread and Jenny was, “… absolutely thrilled with the outcome.  We had so much fun and I can’t wait to do this again next year.”

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Amy Catano of Team Geli’s Piojos and Ariel Ramos of Team Las Nenas de Ariel partnered to add another element to their bar fundraiser—karaoke!  The result of their partnership was “Karaoke for a Cure,” which turned out to be a successful fundraiser on the Upper East Side of Manhattan!  The two team captains explained that in their cultures, “…singing with your family and friends is a normal occurrence.  Why not incorporate this tradition into our fundraising efforts?  Karaoke is good for the soul!  It’s drinking, it’s family and whether you cheer someone on or have the courage to get up on stage (and maybe fall off COMPLETELY by mistake like I did)—it’s a good time.  So what better way to have some fun while raising funds?”
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If you know of similar fundraisers, please comment and let us know.