Join the Running Team
Will you pound the pavement for Parkinson's? Lace up your running sneakers for PDF to help fight Parkinson's.
If you haven't chosen a race yet, scroll down to search for a race near you. Contact us now at email@example.com to learn more about how you can run in a PDF Champions singlet! Remember, we'll be with you every step of the way to guide your fundraising and get you geared up for race day. Get inspired and read about what motivated the runners below to join PDF's team in the Marine Corps Marathon and Brooklyn Rock 'n' Roll 10k.
Benefits of Joining PDF Champions Running Team
In recognition of fundraising, the Parkinson's Disease Foundation (PDF) will provide its runners with:
- a race entry
- fundraising support and guidance
- a personal fundraising webpage
- PDF gear (hat, banners, wristband and a racing jersey)!
Meet Past Champions
Sean Wright of Kennesaw, GA, rallied the troops to fight Parkinson’s. The former Marine Sergeant inspired eight members of his family to run the Marine Corps Marathon 10k with him on October 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. The family raised more than $3,200.
Sean’s stepfather, Gary Chard, Wilmington, DE, is a PDF Research Advocate who has been living with Parkinson’s since 2008. Sean ran 26.2 miles with PDF’s team in the 2012 Marine Corps Marathon to help raise more than $5,000 for Parkinson’s research. After cheering Sean on from the sidelines, Gary and the rest of the family were inspired to lace up their own sneakers for the cause in 2013.
“We’re trying to show that we’re a united front against Parkinson’s. As a person living with PD, I have my strong support of my wife and family standing behind me, who are empathetic to the situation I’m in,” says Gary, who was especially touched to see his 11-year-old granddaughter Aubrey running.
Architect Honors Friend Living with PD and Brother in Marines
When Sarah Klymson of Chicago, IL, ran the Marine Corps Marathon on October 27, 2013 in Washington, DC, it was extra special. She joined PDF's marathon team in honor of a friend who is living with PD and to honor her brother Brian, a Marine currently deployed in Japan.
The architect is an avid runner, having already completed three Chicago marathons. She says having a charity component gives her extra motivation to cross the finish line.
"Training for a marathon is a really difficult task, but when you're doing it for a cause or a reason that means something to you, it's so much more important and fulfilling than just doing it for yourself. It makes running more worthwhile," says Sarah.
Five runners joined PDF's team in the Rock 'n' Roll Brooklyn 10k in Brooklyn, NY, on October 12, 2013. Kevin Gramata, Shelton Hollers, Colleen Joyce and Katherine Jurgens ran through Prospect Park to make a difference in the lives of their loved ones living with PD and others who may be affected. Together, they raised $6,686 for PDF.
"There are so many thoughts that race through my head mid-run, but it is only thoughts of my father, his courage and desire to fight for a normal life, to do simple things that the rest of us take for granted, that keep me going and push me across that finish line," says PDF Champion Katherine Jurgens.
PDF Champion Shelton Hollers, remarks, “I enjoy being able to contribute to a cause I believe in through my athletic efforts. I know Parkinson's is a serious disease that needs more research. By running this 10k, I want to raise awareness not only about Parkinson’s, but of how PDF helps people living with the disease."
Elizabeth Runs First Marathon for Family
Though Elizabeth Claps of Washington DC, is an event planner always on-the-go, she says she’s not a natural at running long distances. After a close family relative was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, she wanted to put her feet to the marathon test to fund a cure and make “life more fulfilling for people who are suffering from Parkinson’s.” She completed the Marine Corps Marathon in October 2012. She created imaginative donation guidelines – such as $10 for a song to make her running playlist or $200 for her to wear the donor’s name on race day – to get friends excited to support her cause.
“Running a marathon is nothing compared to the limitations people with Parkinson’s have to go through. If they can do it, I can do it. I hope to keep funding studies that will improve treatments and ultimately find a way to cure Parkinson’s,” she says.
Student Runs to Honor Her Father
Jessie Gunter, a student at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, has always enjoyed running. The 22-year-old took on 26.2 miles for the first time in October 2012 to help fund research for a cure and raise awareness about Parkinson’s disease. The cause is close to her heart. Her father was diagnosed with young onset Parkinson’s disease at the age of 42. Only an estimated four percent of people living with Parkinson’s are diagnosed before the age of 50.
Ms. Gunter remarks on what the challenge means to her, “Hard work and commitment are two qualities I most admire in my dad. Training for a marathon helped me to reflect on those values he helped instill in me. I did this to honor my dad and bring hope to my family and other people who are touched by Parkinson’s. I want to raise awareness and contribute to the research effort so that others may not have to live with this disease in the future.
Nurse Runs for Brother and Patients
S Jane Schrick, R.N., of Sunnyvale, CA, is touched by Parkinson’s in her home and work life. Her brother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s three years ago. As a cardiology nurse, Ms. Schrick treats people living with Parkinson who also suffer with heart conditions on a regular basis. The avid runner, who is no stranger to marathons, was inspired to run with PDF at the 2012 Marine Corps Marathon in tribute to her brother and patients.
Ms. Schrick remarks, “I wanted to make my runs more meaningful and find some way to give people with Parkinson’s, like my brother and my patients, hope.”