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Archive for the ‘Teams’ Category

The Hallmark of Team Impax’s Success: Fostering a Fun, Engaging Culture Focused on Helping People Living with Parkinson’s

Wednesday, April 11th, 2018

It is the generous support of our sponsors that allows PUW to keep its commitment that 100% of all donations support Parkinson’s research. One of our sponsors, Impax has created a team and is involving their employees in the fundraising process. Engaging them in the Unity Walk is a great way for them to have a first hand experience of the community they support every day through their work. I attended their Kick-Off Rally and got to see what a great job they are doing!

Helaine Isaacs
PUW Event Director

The secret behind Team Impax’s fundraising success is simple…making it fun for employees, having the full support of our senior leaders and most important, always bringing it back to our focus on helping people living with Parkinson’s disease.  As a pharmaceutical company, our passion is to make a difference through the medicines we manufacture and distribute to patients.

We plan our fundraising activities about 8 weeks in advance of the Unity Walk with a SAVE the DATE announcement to our employees along with a call for volunteers to serve on our Event Committee. The Event Committee plans our Kick-Off Rally where we invite an individual living with Parkinson’s disease to tell their personal story. Always compelling and incredibly moving, it’s our speakers’ courage that inspires Team Impax to continue to raise awareness and funds.

Steve Sost (VP – Internal Communications and Team Impax Steering Committee member) makes a purchase at the 2017 Team Impax Bake & Snack Sale.

To encourage maximum attendance at the Rally, we serve lunch and offer door prizes as well as a table where employees can register for the walk. We also offer donation incentives based on the level of giving such as Team Impax t-shirts and jackets. Our Bake & Snack Sales are super popular and we intentionally do not put prices on anything we sell. We find that by leaving it up to our employees to decide the price, donations are far greater than how we would price any item. We also replicate good ideas and our Silent Auction has been very successful.  Items are generously donated by employees and our vendor partners. This year we are posting our auction online so that employees can bid across sites, including our field-based colleagues.

None of this would be possible without committed employees and the support and encouragement we receive from the Team Impax Steering Committee, comprised of several senior executives. They promote a positive company culture that encourages participation in community events that can have a profound impact on raising awareness for chronic and progressive diseases.

Team Impax

Michelle Foster, Human Resources Business Partner, gets ready to board the Team Impax bus en route to the 2016 Parkinson’s Unity Walk.

Stronger Together – When Your Workplace Supports Your Life

Wednesday, April 4th, 2018

I was surprised to see a new team this year with a team captain who had been the team captain of her family team in the past. When I called to ask if she was the same person, she explained that her company, Healthline has offered to create a company team that will combine forces with her family team. They are even making a donation for each employee who participates in the Unity Walk! It is a true example of a company living out their values. It made me think that there are probably other companies out there who would be willing to do something similar. Sometimes, all it takes is the willingness to ask the question.
Helaine Isaacs
PUW Event Director

In 2014, my older sister and I participated in Parkinson’s Unity Walk for the first time, joined by a few close friends and her charming dog, Chaplin. The experience was inspiring; for the first time since our father’s diagnosis in 2002, my sister and I spoke with other caregivers and left feeling filled with hope. The Unity Walk isn’t just about raising money and awareness — it’s about finding a community, lifting spirits, and offering support.

The Walk became a tradition for us from that moment. Since 2014, we’ve walked as team “Hot, Hot, Hot,” a name chosen in homage to one of our father’s favorite songs he played for us when we were kids. We’re continuing the tradition this year, but this time we’re welcoming a new family and team name: Healthline.

I started working for Healthline last May, and it’s been one of the greatest experiences of my life. A leading health information site, Healthline’s mission to is to be your most trusted ally in your pursuit of health and well-being — a mission accomplished through the empathy offered in all of the site’s content. This empathy is at the core of the company, and it’s something Healthline extends to its employees, as well.

Knowing of my father’s illness, Healthline started a team this year for the Unity Walk, and my family and I are thrilled to join forces. I was moved to tears when I found out that the company will also be donating $50 to the Walk for every person that signs up for our Healthline team.

I’ve had work families before, but I’ve never felt more supported, appreciated, and optimistic for my father’s future as I do now. Healthline’s willingness to show support for those affected by PD (just as they do with many other health conditions) is proof that we’re all stronger together, capable of changing lives, and, at our core, filled with empathy.

Talia Aroshas
Team Captain, Healthline

Parkinson’s Pride

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

Last April, I received an email from one of our walkers, Carl Kane, that he sent to his supporters right after the Walk. Each person’s experience at the Walk is as unique as the progression of their Parkinson’s disease but Carl’s note captured his personal sense of gratitude and pride that he experienced on Walk day. We think it is well worth sharing with our participants.

Helaine Isaacs
PUW Event Director

These days not many of us use the Yiddish word “kvell.”  Loosely translated, it means a deep sense of pride. For me, the PUW experience evoked that deep sense of pride on many levels, some leading to unabashed bouts of tears.

I “kvelled” over my son, Alex, now a proud papa himself, as he organized and motivated us, culminating in over $21,000 of donations.  I “kvelled” over my family, their unbridled love, commitment and support for me.

Walking through Central Park that gloomy morning, I ”kvelled” over my family and friends, surrounding me in a sea of love and orange headbands, lighting up the misty sky.  I broke down as I read a poster proudly upheld by a family I did not know, “Papa we miss you. He died two years ago from Parkinson’s.”

I thank you all, my family and friends, for your participation and generosity.

Carl Kane,
Team Member, Team Big Daddy Kane


Young Onset Support Group of Westchester/Bronx

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

Teams are at the core of the Parkinson’s Unity Walk and they come in many sizes with various affiliations – family teams, corporate teams, and support group teams. Young Onset Support Group of Westchester/Bronx is a great example of a support group that meets all year round AND participates together in PUW. This is their 12th year at the Unity Walk!

Helaine Isaacs
PUW Event Director

YOPD Support Group of Westchester/Bronx with May May Ali at 2016 PUW

In March 2004, George and Norma Jensen, both of whom have Parkinson’s disease, recognized the need for a support group for those with young onset Parkinson’s disease in the Westchester, New York area.  In January 2005, they secured a meeting room at White Plains Hospital, advertised with neurologists, and waited. After four months a few members showed up, then a few more.  Early members included Anthony Fente, Bob Roach, Anne Dowling, Janet Stram and Alex Abraham. We invited guest speakers to keep us informed and started planning social events to have some fun. We developed a trusting, supportive environment where our voices could be heard.

The group now has over 40 members. Both people living with Parkinson’s and care givers are welcome to join us.  Although we are considered a “young on-set” group we don’t turn anyone away as long as they are young at heart.  Our meetings cover a variety of topics including latest treatments, medications, symptoms, strategies for coping with work, sleep, life. All subjects are open for discussion at our monthly meetings.  We have formed true friendships and know that we can pick up the phone and talk to someone who understands our unique challenges. We are actively involved with the Parkinson’s community and share information and resources.

The first year we joined the Parkinson’s Unity Walk, Norma made a beautiful banner and left room at the bottom to add in subsequent years.  The banner has accompanied our group now for 12 Unity Walks.  It’s a reminder to keep up the fight, to support each other, and take care of ourselves.

We are proud of our group and the amazing networking that has placed our team (without any corporate sponsorship) in the top ten teams nationally for a number of years.  Last year, we had 21 registered walkers with many more joining us at the Walk and together, raised $17,314. At first many of us were shy about asking friends and relatives for donations.  What we began to realize is that people want to help.

Many of us have increased our donations by getting our social media savvy children involved. One example is Janet and Danny Stram’s son Scott who, year after year with the help of social media, collects thousands of dollars for his mother’s cause.

Alex Abraham, active member and facilitator of our group, discovered a talent for fundraising.  He begins fundraising for the Unity Walk in the fall and gives anyone and everyone he encounters the opportunity to contribute.  Alex’s philosophy is that it makes people feel good to donate and he has been very successful obtaining face to face donations.  He always has donation forms on him, keeps records of everyone who donates and contacts them from year to year.

Another aspect of the Unity Walk is the opportunity it affords for family and friends to come out and support us as we walk for a cure.  The atmosphere is positive, the walk through Central Park pleasant, the solidarity evident. Living with Parkinson’s disease is challenging but the day of the Unity Walk is always about hope.

Alex Abraham, Team Captain and Anne Dowling, Team Member
Young Onset Support Group of Westchester/Bronx




Not Just a Walk in the Park – Perrigo Walks for Parkinson’s!

Monday, February 13th, 2017

Over 85% of PUW participants walk proudly with their teams. In addition to the many family teams that participate in the Walk, there are corporate teams, support group teams, and teams from programs that train healthcare professionals to work with members of the Parkinson’s community. Team Perrigo is a wonderful example of a corporate team that was looking for an opportunity for their employees to come out in support of a worthy cause. You can only imagine how pleased we were when they called to ask about creating a corporate team and then suggested that we apply for a grant request from their company’s foundation. We are grateful to Perrigo’s generous support of the 2016 Unity Walk – they donated $10,000! – and are delighted that their team will return in 2017.

Helaine Isaacs
PUW Event Director

Team Perrigo enjoying the 2016 Parkinson’s Unity Walk!

Providing high-quality healthcare products all over the world since the early 1900s, it was only fitting that Perrigo Company should partner with the Parkinson’s Unity Walk (PUW) to contribute to researching this neurodegenerative brain disorder.

Perrigo Company and the PUW have more than a few common interests, but the two that are most obvious to me are: Healthcare and Community.

Brushing the surface of both organizations, our mission statements revolve around improving global health and happiness.  Perrigo develops, manufactures, and distributes high quality healthcare products at affordable prices.  Perrigo’s facility in the Bronx manufactures over-the-counter topical products such as the less expensive store brand anti-itch cream you rub on your child’s itchy bug bites and the lice shampoo that you grudgingly scrub into your child’s hair as you wash every linen item in the house.  Admirably, PUW supports the same theme – researching a disease that results in so many people living with debilitating symptoms every single day in order to identify appropriate forms of relief.  This is the foundation of Perrigo’s common ground with the Parkinson’s Unity Walk organization.

Both Perrigo Company and PUW have a strong sense of community.   I’d like to focus for a second on the Community Service Committee that my colleagues, Chris and Clare helped me to initiate in 2014.  This might help you understand how we got involved with the Parkinson’s Unity Walk in the first place.  The three of us looked around and saw 500 passionate, hardworking employees at our facility in the Bronx – and an opportunity to bring them all together for a good cause.  That is why we started the Community Service Committee.  Since then, we have participated in events to support research for cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, and, of course, Parkinson’s disease. We’ve hosted back-to-school drives for children in need in the Bronx and allocated over $100,000 from the Perrigo Company Charitable Foundation to various causes supporting healthcare and education.

Inviting our employees to participate in PUW gave us yet another opportunity to bring our employees together for a great cause and for that we are grateful. That being said, PUW’s contribution to the community is obvious – organizing an impactful event that brings people together from all over the world.  After attending the thank you reception for top fundraisers the night before the Walk, the sense of community was obvious as people shared poems and speeches about traveling across the country for numerous years to attend this Walk. The love and support in the room was overwhelming and I found myself truly touched by the words of strangers supporting each other through their Parkinson’s journeys.

I’ve witnessed similar love and support at Perrigo in the Bronx.  When I first started at Perrigo as a Production Supervisor, one of my employees fell very ill and I was deeply moved by the efforts of a co-worker to collect donations from other employees who wanted to help – some of whom didn’t even know her personally.   That environment of love and support is not easy to match – but I know we’ve found it with the Parkinson’s Unity Walk.

We look forward to supporting the Parkinson’s Unity Walk for years to come.  Thank you for this opportunity to share our story with you.

Rachel Brown
Perrigo Company