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I Know a Guy Who Knows a Guy…

January 21st, 2015 by Helaine Isaacs, Event Director


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.

Happy Holidays!

December 22nd, 2014 by Helaine Isaacs, Event Director

PUW-happyholidays-2015-blogWishing you all the joys of the season. We hope you have time to relax and time to celebrate the holidays with family and friends. May 2015 bring you wonder, joy, contentment and hope.

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 25th, 2014 by Helaine Isaacs, Event Director


Here at the Parkinson’s Unity Walk, Thanksgiving is the time of year when we reflect on all the things we are grateful for – and there are many.

  • We are grateful to our walkers who raise awareness of Parkinson’s disease and funds for research each year. They are a committed and resilient group of individuals who meet life’s challenges with grace and humor.
  • We are grateful to our donors, many of whom have a personal connection to this important cause. We know how much it means to our walkers to have their support.
  • We are grateful to our sponsors. It is their continued and generous support that allows 100% of donations to fund research.
  • We are grateful to the Parkinson’s foundations that participate in the Unity Walk. They provide information and resources to the PD community and lead the way on the research funded with donations to the Walk.
  • We are grateful to the researchers who use the funds raised at the Walk to move us closer to finding the cause and cure for Parkinson’s disease. Until that day comes, they continue to develop therapies that improve the quality of life of those living with PD.
  • We are grateful to our volunteers, many of whom have been with the Walk for many years. The Walk would not be the same without their support.
  • We are grateful for the sense of community that is created when thousands of people gather, all committed to finding the cause and cure for Parkinson’s disease.
  • We are grateful for the relationships we’ve made through the Parkinson’s Unity Walk. They enrich our lives every day.

Wishing you and yours a wonderful and satisfying Thanksgiving holiday!

This Year’s Memory Quilt is Done! And the 2014 Recipient is …

November 21st, 2014 by Helaine Isaacs, Event Director
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!

Finished Quilt upclose (2)Finished Quilt upclose (3)








Finished Quilt upclose (4) Finished quilt upclose (5)









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.

Honoring Family Care Partners in November

November 8th, 2014 by Helaine Isaacs, Event Director

While my family celebrated Mother’s Day each year when I was growing up, I remember my mother telling me that “every day is Mother’s Day.” November is National Family Caregivers Month and I think my mother’s perspective applies – every month is family caregivers month. As Edna Ball explains in her recent blog post, “… the term has evolved to care partner. This is a really important distinction because to achieve the most success, a working partnership is essential.” Anyone living with someone who has been diagnosed with an ongoing disease knows that the illness impacts the entire family on a daily basis and not just the person receiving the diagnosis.

In addition to highlighting some family care partners who participate in the Unity Walk, we want to take this opportunity to share some resources for care partners and focus on legislative initiatives underway to provide them with support.

Caregiver blog graphic NPF
The National Parkinson Foundation (NPF) is one of several organizations that offer resources to help you navigate the various challenges that may arise as a care partner. These resources include a Toll-free Helpline, a Caring and Coping Manual, a Parkinson’s disease (PD) Library, a Caregiver Forum and a Parkinson’s Central Smartphone App. Here’s how you can learn more to benefit from NPF’s resources and tips for care partners.


Sen. Corey Booker, Charlene and Joe Narciso, Rep. Bill Pascrell and Lisa Paillex-Griffin

Sen. Corey Booker, Charlene and Joe Narciso, Rep. Bill Pascrell and Lisa Paillex-Griffin

This past week, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) hosted a roundtable on caregiving in Englewood, New Jersey. Unity Walk participants and Parkinson’s Action Network (PAN) Assistant State Directors for NJ, Lisa Paillex Griffin and Joe Narciso were in attendance along with Joe’s wife, Charlene. Sen. Booker and Rep. Pascrell also recently sponsored legislation about caregiving. Learn more about the roundtable and pending legislation about caregiving.


Gayle and David

David and Gayle Maloney

“Whether it is because of Parkinson’s disease or because I’m now older (I suspect a little of both), above all, you learn patience and hope,” states David Maloney. “You learn to appreciate all of the moments, both the large and small, of the life that you are living together.  You learn that people want to help and that you and your family can help others by participating in clinical trials, raising funds for research, by being available to them to listen, and by sharing your experience.”  This is one perspective of a family’s Parkinson’s journey … read this guest blog post written by a husband, and care partner.


John and Edna Ball

Edna and John Ball

Edna Ball, co-founder of Team Parkinson has lived with Parkinson’s disease since she was 11 years old – first with her mother’s diagnosis of PD at the age of 48 and then when her husband, John was diagnosed over 40 years ago. The years have brought wisdom and some valuable lessons which Edna has shared on our blog. Her comment that spoke to me the most was, “Always remember that every day may not be good, BUT there is something good in every day. Give yourself permission to recognize that goodness and enjoy it.” Read more of Edna’s story about being a longstanding care partner.



Sara Beam and family

Sara Beam’s parents lived in North Carolina. Her father had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease close to twenty years ago. She and her brothers lived in New York, Massachusetts and Texas and needed to develop strategies to care for their parents from a distance. As Sara’s mom became ill with cancer and after her death, the situation required an increased level of care. Learn more about how Sara and her siblings took on the responsibility of caring for their aging parents from a distance.

The Unity Walk is about community and it takes a loving community to participate in the care of someone living with Parkinson’s disease. Whether you are a care partner for your spouse, parent, child, sibling or friend, we take a moment in November to honor all you do throughout the year.

Helaine Isaacs
Event Director