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19th Parkinson's Unity Walk Raises More than $1.6 Million in Support of Parkinson's Research

More than 10,000 Walkers Make Every Step Count in Raising Funds and Awareness for Parkinson's

KINGSTON, N.J., May 21, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Parkinson Alliance proudly announced today that the 19th Parkinson's Unity Walk held on Saturday, April 27, 2013 in New York City's Central Park, has thus far raised more than $1.6 million and united more than 10,000 walkers in raising awareness for Parkinson’s disease and to support research for better treatments, and hopefully one day a cure.  Contributions will continue to be accepted through May 28, 2013.  The Parkinson’s Unity Walk is the largest awareness and fundraising event for Parkinson’s disease research in the United States.

For participants, the Parkinson’s Unity Walk represented much more than a one-day event.  “The Parkinson's Unity Walk is more than a just a walk.  It provides an opportunity for thousands of participants to all come together in support of the community. This day is about sharing stories and experiences, learning more about Parkinson's disease and its management and spending time at the booths of leading Parkinson's organizations and companies working on better treatments for people living with or impacted by this disease,” said Carol Walton, Chief Executive Officer of The Parkinson Alliance.

The Walk kicked off with an inspirational poem from May May Ali, social activist, daughter of Muhammad Ali and Walk participant. Over the years, May May and her poetry has become a special tradition at the Walk and her energy and spirit have captured the hearts of the Parkinson’s community.

The number of registered teams participating this year exceeded 500 and as in previous years, the teams contributed the funds they raised to further advance Parkinson's disease research.  “The Parkinson’s Unity Walk brings together so many of us who are deeply invested in finding a cure, and the funds raised will support this effort. Every nine minutes someone is newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, joining the more than one million who are living with the disease and the millions more who are impacted by it,” said Martin Tuchman, Chairman of The Parkinson Alliance. “We are all working hard to deliver ground breaking research so that one day we will walk not to raise funds to beat this disease— but to celebrate that it has been beaten,” he concluded.

In addition to individual and team fundraising efforts, AbbVie, a global research–based biopharmaceutical company and premier sponsor of the Parkinson’s Unity Walk, donated $15 for every photo taken and message of encouragement written on the Messages of Hope™ Wall.  AbbVie has raised an additional $15,000, which will also be donated directly to the Parkinson’s Unity Walk in support of research.

2013 Walk sponsors also included Teva CNS, UCB, Chelsea Therapeutics, LSVT Global, Medtronic, Novartis and US WorldMeds.  The generosity of each sponsor allows the Parkinson's Unity Walk to donate one hundred percent of all donations to research.  Since the Walk's inception, proceeds from the Parkinson’s Unity Walk will be shared equally among the seven leading Parkinson's foundations to help fund research that directly impacts the lives of people living with Parkinson’s disease:  American Parkinson Disease Association, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, National Parkinson Foundation, Parkinson's Action Network, The Parkinson Alliance, Parkinson's Disease Foundation, and The Parkinson's Institute and Clinical Center.

The Wilkins Parkinson's Foundation has once again made a significant contribution to the Walk. Through their generosity, "Make Every Step Count" ads appeared in New York City taxis, phone kiosks, bus shelters and subways, helping to build awareness for the Walk throughout the month of April.

About The Parkinson Alliance
The Parkinson Alliance® is a national non-profit organization, dedicated to raising funds to help finance the most promising research to find the cause and cure for Parkinson's disease; and is the umbrella organization for the Parkinson's Unity Walk®.  Since its inception in 1994, one hundred percent of donations to the Parkinson's Unity Walk have gone to research and more than $12 million in research grants have been awarded.  Additional information is available at or by calling 866-789-9255 (866-PUW-WALK).

About Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson's disease is a chronic, degenerative neurological disorder that affects one in 100 people over age 60.  It is estimated that more than one million people in the U.S. are living with Parkinson's disease, and 60,000 new cases – one every nine minutes – are diagnosed each year.  Recent research indicates that there are more than five million people worldwide living with Parkinson's disease.  The cause of Parkinson's disease is unknown, and while there is no cure, there are treatment options including medication and surgery, to help manage symptoms.  

Helaine Isaacs
Event Director
Parkinson’s Unity Walk

Source of Press Release
The Parkinson Alliance