Parkinson's CHAMP

Team: Team Alex, now team Kenz Frenz
Location: New Vernon, New Jersey
Walking since: 1994
Money raised: $191,432.50

Why I/We Walk:
My father and his father had Parkinson’s disease. In 1994 I decided I would help by advocating for more federal research funding and greater awareness. I met Margot Zobel at the first Parkinson’s Advocacy Forum in Washington, DC, and found that not only did she share my views on what needed to be done, but she was putting together a walk in Central Park to raise awareness and research dollars.

I started fundraising as an individual during my first years with the Walk, eventually joining Margot’s team in 2007; I then formed my own team and named it in honor of my father: Team Alex. Today, I have Parkinson’s myself and for the 2022 Unity Walk, I will be walking with my new team, KENZ FRENZ, and everyone who believes that we can do a better job fighting Parkinson’s together UNITED.

Fun Facts About Us:
I love my FRENZ because they are the greatest!

The volunteer committee for the first walk ordered literature and promotional items from all the sponsoring PD organizations. But, since everyone lived in Manhattan, nobody had room to store the heavy boxes. Everything was shipped to my house in New Jersey. On Walk day, all the materials for the event came into Central Park in my mini-van.

Keys to Success:
Originally, I appealed to my father’s friends who were very generous with their donations.

I wrote a single-page letter updating the current state of Parkinson’s research and how much more could be done with increased research funding.

I got over my fear of asking friends for money by realizing I was offering something real. I was giving them an opportunity to give to a cause that affected me personally. And I was giving them information that would come in handy if they had a loved one with PD.

What I/We Love About the Unity Walk:
I love to hear stories in which two perfect strangers meet at the Walk and become lifelong friends.

I love the signs that little kids make with colored markers that say “I love you Pop Pop!” What a great way to make someone with Parkinson’s feel special. Priceless!

I love the fact that the Walk brings families together.

Interview with Ken Aidekman, Team Leader, 12/2021


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