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“Your Favorite Walk Moment” Knocks it Out of the Park!!

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

PUW-Hompage_FavoriteWalkMomentsThis year, we asked our walkers to submit one photo –“Your Favorite Walk Moment” – and we were blown away by their response! We take more photos than you can imagine the day of the Walk but it is our walkers who captured the essence of the day with their cameras – team photos from large and small teams, photos of twosomes or threesomes, or of a young girl on a bench proudly carrying her team sign. What comes across is the exhilaration of the day, the love and support among our walkers and teams, their determination, and the pride they experience in taking action to find the cause and cure for Parkinson’s disease.

Not only did a large number of our walkers send in their photos but the slideshow has grabbed their attention!

For another perspective on Walk day, click here to view the PUW slideshow.

Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words. Please keep sharing the experience of the Walk with your supporters and potential donors.

Helaine Isaacs
PUW Event Director

Raising Awareness – One Billboard at a Time

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Our phones have been ringing off the hook! We always ask people how they learned about the Unity Walk and more and more, the answers are “I saw a sign about it on the subway” or “I just saw the Public Service Announcement.” Courtesy of Wilkins Parkinson’s Foundation, the Unity Walk has billboards on NYC buses, subway platforms and digital panels at subway entrances as well as billboards in shopping centers in NY suburbs.

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PUW billboard on bus and PUW billboards at shopping center!

We are grateful for all this support to raise awareness of Parkinson’s disease, the Unity Walk and hopefully, more funds for research. Look forward to walking together on Saturday!

Best,
Helaine Isaacs
PUW Event Director

Today Show 4.25.14 – Be There!!

Monday, April 21st, 2014

What are you doing early in the morning on Friday, April 25th? I know where I’ll be – on the plaza at the Today Show – and I hope you’ll join me and other participants from the Unity Walk.

We will be meeting in a new location this year! You creatures of habit – pay attention! We have a new connection at the Today Show so we don’t need to wait on line to enter the plaza of the Today Show. Instead, we will gather between 5:30-6:00am in front of the main entrance to 30 Rockefeller Plaza. That’s the building that the Christmas tree is in front of in the winter. Rockefeller Plaza runs between 49th and 50th Streets and is parallel to and in between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. We will be escorted onto the plaza at 6:00am and placed in a location that will give us the most visibility during the Today Show. If you need me to reach me that morning, call me on my cell 609-651-9155.

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I used to arrive early when it’s still dark and hold a place on line for our group. I’m often the first person on line and I’ve met some incredible people while standing on line at that hour. Last year, there was a group of high school students from West Virginia who were visiting NY for the first time. They were completely ripped off by their NY cab driver, who charged each person the fare on the meter but that didn’t faze them. When they found out about the Walk, several of the students spontaneously gave me cash donations. The year before there was the 80 year old woman who drove in with her daughters from PA to celebrate her 80th birthday with the hope of being chosen for a makeover. I am convinced that it was the support from the Unity Walk crowd that got her selected and she looked amazing!

All those wonderful folks pale in comparison to the folks who show up in support of the Unity Walk. There are often several regulars – Team Cantore, Daddy and his Dopamines and the DominACHINs are in that group – but I always get to meet some new walkers and teams that I wouldn’t have crossed paths with otherwise and that’s what I enjoy most about the day.

photo from Helaine

We hope for our one minute of glory when Al Roker or one of his colleagues come out to the plaza, our signs held high and t-shirts worn proudly. We’ve been lucky the past several years and Al’s come over to speak to us. We hope you can join us in person. If you’re watching from home, use our hashtag #puw2014 and let us know you’re with us in spirit.

Helaine Isaacs
PUW Event Director

 

 

Credit Melanie Ahron IMG-20130426-00844 photo from Helaine 3

Calling All Team T-shirts!

Saturday, April 5th, 2014
2013 PUW Memory Quilt

2013 PUW Memory Quilt

Many of our teams proudly wear their team t-shirts at the Walk, displaying their bright colors, clever team names and creative designs. Do you see your 2013 team t-shirt in the photo?

Did you know that the top 50 team captains will be entered into a raffle drawing to win a PUW memory quilt made up of approximately 50 team t-shirts from the 2014 Unity Walk? Whether or not you win, we hope you’ll be part of this prize by bringing your team t-shirt shirt with you on Walk day and dropping it off with the volunteer at the Team Photo booth. Can’t make it to the Walk or forgot to bring it with you the day of the Walk? No problem. You can mail it to the Unity Walk office at PO Box 275, Kingston, NJ 08528. The Unity Walk reserves the right to select which t-shirts to include in the quilt.

We received a treasure trove of team t-shirts last year and hope to have the same experience this April.  Having your team t-shirt be a part of this quilt symbolizes the important part you play in the Unitiy Walk. We couldn’t have the Walk – or create this quilt without you!

Thanks,
Helaine Isaacs
PUW Event Director

Ken Aidekman, PUW Co-founder reflects on the First Parkinson’s Unity Walk and its Meaning to the Parkinson’s Community

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

To kick-off Parkinson’s Awareness month, we’ve asked Ken Aidekman, Co-founder of the Unity Walk to reflect on the first Walk in 1994 and how far we’ve come over the past twenty years. We are grateful to Margot for her vision and Ken’s commitment and support throughout the years.

Helaine Isaacs
PUW Event Director

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Twenty years ago, I witnessed 200 walkers come together in Riverside Park to raise $16,000 for Parkinson’s research. This year, over 10,000 walkers will gather and raise over 100 times more than we did at that first Parkinson’s Unity Walk!

I have seen the amazing things that a Parkinson’s grassroots effort can accomplish. I watched a small band of advocates succeed in raising awareness and funds for research in Washington. I saw Margot Zobel take a simple idea for a walk and turn it into a dynamic force for good. She sensed a vacuum in New York and turned it into an opportunity for people around the world. Her strength derived from her conviction that individuals have the power to change their lives through creative cooperation.

The energy that Margot brought to the Walk remains with us today. You can see it in the faces of family members who have traveled great distances to be here. You can hear it in the voices of people living with Parkinson’s who describe how it helps get them through the difficult the months ahead. And you can feel the love that goes into every t-shirt and sign supporting a grandparent, parent, spouse, child or friend.

What is it about this Walk? Joan Samuelson, the founder of the Parkinson’s Action Network, talked about it at the second Parkinson’s Unity Walk.

“I don’t know how many of you were in the same situation I was when I decided to come and people said “Are you going to walk?” and I said “No, I can’t walk that far.” Because often I can’t. And it was pretty nice for me to be with others in the same situation – who didn’t know if they could make it for sure the whole way.

One thing I knew was that it would be OK if I didn’t, which isn’t always true in the world we live in. We try to be equal to everyone else around us. We want to be able to do all the things that we used to do. It’s hard to give those things up. But, it was nice to walk today knowing that if at some point my foot started doing the crazy things it does or if I got tired that it would be OK. And that somehow, somebody in this crowd would make sure that I got here by the end.”

The Walk is about a day of faith, trust, friendship, love, commitment and empowerment. There are many individual teams at the Walk, but no matter what, we are all members of the same team – the team to end Parkinson’s disease.

Together, we take pride in our accomplishments in fostering community and funding research. We find inspiration in our growth and empowerment. But, there’s a long road ahead before we cross the finish line. We want nothing less than the total banishment of Parkinson’s disease from the human condition. Let our battle be remembered as a glorious triumph by those who believed that one person can make a difference.

Each step in Central Park brings us closer to our goal.

Join us on April 26th. We can’t wait to see you!

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Ken Aidekman
Co-founder, Parkinson’s Unity Walk