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Family Loss Inspires Walk for Parkinson's Cure

By Steven Collins, Staff Reporter

The loss of two family members is the inspiration behind the second annual Parkinson's Walk for a Cure, scheduled for 10 AM April 27 at the East Point property on Route 22 East.

Teresa Riffle, event coordinator, said she created the event after the loss of her father and father-in-law to the disease.

"Parkinson's Disease a struggle," she said. "I saw the disease rob their bodies of the skills they once had. The symptoms vary from person to person. For instance, my father-in-law had tremors while my dad didn't."

According to the Parkinson's Disease Foundation, the disease is a chronic and progressive movement disorder that involves the malfunction and death of vital nerve cells in the brain. As the nerve cells die, there is less dopamine in the brain which controls movement and coordination.

The primary symptoms of Parkinson's Disease include tremor of the hands, arms, legs, jaw and face; slowness of movement; stiffness of the limbs and trunk; and impaired balance and coordination.

According to the foundation, more than 1 million people in the U.S. live with the disease.

Riffle said the group raised more than $1,500 in its inaugural year for research, and the goal for this year has increased.

"$2,000 is our goal for this year," Riffle said. "Last year we put it together kind of last minute, and I don't think that it had the publicity that it has had this year. I already know people who are planning on attending."

April is Parkinson's Awareness Month, which seemed a fitting time for the walk, but there is also another, more personal reason for the date.

"April 30 is my dad's birthday, and so I chose the last Saturday in April to hold the event each year," Riffle said. "I had the idea to do it it before my dad passed away in February 2012, but his death just pushed me to do it more."

Registration will start about 10 a.m. Riffle said that they will release green and yellow balloons, representing the colors for the Parkinson's Disease Foundation, and then the walk will commence. The length of the walk is up to the individual participants.

"How long someone walks is up to them, whether they do one loop, many loops or if they get part of the way and walk back," she said.

Riffle said that onsite registration is $20, and the first 50 people get a free t-shirt. She also said local businesses have donated money to help make the event possible, and that 100 percent of the proceeds will go for research. The group also plans to sell food and conduct a bake sale during the event.

The East Point property is located at 9563 U.S. Route 22 East, about four miles east of the Pickaway County Fairgrounds.

Anyone interested in donating may do so online at http://support.pdf.org/Parkinsonswalkforacure.

Source Date: Apr 11 2013
Source Publication: Circleville Herald
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