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Types of FUNdraisers – One Just Might be Right for You

September 1st, 2014 by Parkinson's Unity Walk Team

If you’re thinking of creating a fundraiser on behalf of the Unity Walk, there’s a high probability that it’s because you have a strong connection to the Parkinson’s community and you’re ready to step up your fundraising efforts. How you decide to accomplish that is another story. There are a wide range of options. In the next few blog posts, we will highlight various types of events that have been held on behalf of the Unity Walk. Whether it’s a local walk, a restaurant fundraiser, an event involving some form of exercise, celebrating a milestone occasion, or any other kind of fundraiser – regardless of the scale of the event – there are some elements that are common to planning for all of them.

So if you are ready to take your fundraising efforts up another level, check out information about how you can plan Milestone celebrations, Restaurant fundraisers, Exercise events, and even planning a local walk in your community — there are so many events to choose from!

The Unity Walk office can help you think through your fundraising events. Please call us and let us know of your plans. No need to recreate the wheel. We have worked with so many walkers and teams on their events and will gladly share lessons learned and best practices. For more ideas, information, forms and templates, check the “Your Fundraising Events” page on our website.

Once you figure out which event type is right for you, make sure you check out our tips for creating a successful fundraising event.

Younger Generation Stepping It Up

August 23rd, 2014 by Parkinson's Unity Walk Team

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

August 22nd, 2014 by Parkinson's Unity Walk Team

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

August 15th, 2014 by Parkinson's Unity Walk Team

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

August 8th, 2014 by Parkinson's Unity Walk Team

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 …