Parkinson's CHAMP

Team: Montana Don/Marylin Leslie's Team

Location: New York

Walking since: 2007

Money raised: $80,266.00

Why I/We Walk:
We walk to continue the fundraising efforts made by our mom, Marylin Leslie years ago. She founded the team in 2007 after learning that her brother in Montana was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease (PD). When she learned of the PUW in NYC, she saw it as an opportunity to make a difference while showing support for Don. The Unity Walk became an annual commitment with many friends and family gathering to walk.

The fundraising efforts became even more powerful after her own diagnosis of Parkinson’s in 2015. She participated each year despite challenges with her declining mobility, even crossing the finish line a few months before her passing in July of 2019 and her brother Don’s passing just 8 months later. We (her daughters along with many family members) have come together with more motivation and determination to walk in their memory. We feel strongly about continuing our mom’s (Marylin’s) passion in supporting the Unity Walk.

The money raised from the walk will hopefully find a cure for this disease but in the meantime advance treatments for those currently living with PD.

Fun Facts About Us:
The team has representation in at least 8 states including Maine, Florida, Vermont, Montana, Massachusetts, New York, Wyoming, and even Hawaii!

Keys to Success:
Our determination to exceed the amount of money raised in previous years keeps us focused on our goal. While some of us have a competitive edge, the overarching theme is also gratitude. Just being grateful for all levels of support is key.

What I/We Love About the Unity Walk:
We love how the day is filled with uplifting and feel-good moments despite the challenges and sadness that PD can bring to families. For us, the walk brings close friends and family together each year. The Unity Walk is a wonderful way for people to gather and be part of a community to support efforts to find a cure for Parkinson’s.

Team Leaders:
Maribeth Linares

Interview with Maribeth Linares, Team Leader, 5/2022


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