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Archive for the ‘Raise awareness’ Category

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.


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.


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.”


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.”

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?”

If you know of similar fundraisers, please comment and let us know.

Daughter Writes Editorial About Her Dad

Friday, August 8th, 2014

Using the media to spread the word about Parkinson’s disease 

Like so many of our teams, Team DominACHIN over PD plans fundraisers year round while also using unique ways to make a difference by simply raising disease awareness. Each April, the Editor of the Sun Chronicle in Massachusetts asks Mike Achin, Team Captain of Team DominACHIN over PD to write an editorial for the paper to help raise Parkinson’s awareness. This past April, Mike’s daughter, Danielle Achin prepared the editorial about the cause her family is committed to.

In reflecting on her father’s experience with Parkinson’s disease, Danielle wrote about how, “ … strong, tough, resilient and determined my Dad is. At the beginning I thought my superhero was going to be taken from me, and in a way he’s just proving more and more that he is one.” In her article, Danielle also wrote about the support they’ve received from family and friends.

Danielle’s full editorial entitled “My Dad, the superhero” can be found here.

Has your team reached out to your local press about your efforts to raise awareness and funds for Parkinson’s research?  Comment below and let us know your experience …

Walking Since One Year Old

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014

This longstanding walker has taught us that you can never be too young to make a difference

Since our inaugural year in 1994, the Walk is supported by walkers across multi-generations.  Rohun Patel is one of our longstanding supporters and he started walking at a (very!) young age.  How young?  Rohun will tell you that he has, “… participated in the Unity Walk for longer than I can remember, literally!”


With his grandfather, Rohun Patel at his first Parkinson’s Unity Walk in 1997

Rohun Patel had just turned one when he attended his first Parkinson’s Unity Walk.  It was the first and last Walk he would attend with his grandfather or “Dada,” who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease 12 years earlier.  After his first year as a walker, Rohun’s family continued to participate in the Walk while his Dada was not well enough to attend.  When Rohun was in the third grade, he created Team Crunch in honor of his grandfather and named it after his Dada’s favorite candy bar: the Crunch bar.  Every year since, Rohun has donated a portion of his birthday and holiday gifts to the Walk.

Team Crunch

Team Crunch

Rohun’s efforts did not stop there.  In 2011, he decided to step it up and he began fundraising on the Unity Walk website.  His younger brother and cousins joined him and that year, together they raised close to $3,000 for Parkinson’s research.

Rohun is now heading off to college and he continues to be an active fundraiser on behalf of the Unity Walk.  About his participation, he describes that he is just, “… one of thousands who are there to raise funds for research to find a cure for this debilitating disease.  Also like many, I am there to support a relative.  In my case, it’s my grandfather or ‘Dada.’ ”

In addition to walking and fundraising, Rohun and members of Team Crunch support the Parkinson’s community in additional ways.  They are also volunteers at an annual 5K and Fun Run held by The Parkinson Alliance every September in Princeton, NJ.

Want to know more about Team Crunch?  Read more about Rohun’s team.

Cause Awareness is Just as Important as Fundraising

Friday, August 1st, 2014

Many of our teams work just as hard and are as clever to raise awareness, as they do fundraising.

Many of our teams are also involved in multiple causes and are always thinking outside the box all year round — including Team Dan Rocks!

Meg Kelleher’s father Dan, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease 12 years ago. She has been participating in the Parkinson’s Unity Walk for the past four years as Team Captain of Team Dan Rocks. Meg and additional Team Dan Rocks team members took part in the Color Me Rad 5K at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. While supporting another cause, they also wore their Parkinson’s Unity Walk t-shirts to draw attention to this cause that they are committed to. Good fun for two important causes!


Unity Walk Shirts AFTER the Color Me Rad 5K

What are some unique ways you’ve raised Parkinson’s disease awareness?