“I lost my mother to Parkinson's disease. PDF is not only helping to save lives, but also giving hope to those family members who have to watch their loved ones suffer. I am overjoyed to know there are people out there working day in and day out to find a cure."
PDF Champion Chad Moir
Champions in Action
PDF is grateful to our Champions for making PDF their charity of choice. We are also inspired by their personal stories and dedication to Parkinson's research. What are they up to? Browse some of their stories below by type of event, or find and support a current PDF Champion.
PDF Board Member Stephanie Goldman-Pittel, along with her event co-chairs Doug Stern and Amy Sole, raised more than $35,000 to benefit PDF at Martinis & Bellinis, their third annual PDF Helping Hours event on March 3, 2016. More than 100 guests attended the event held at Harvest Bistro & Bar in Closter, NJ, to support Parkinson’s research.
Guests enjoyed a special tasting of assorted martinis and bellinis, gourmet dinner and silent auction. The three co-chairs formed the event in honor of their loved ones who live with Parkinson’s disease.
“My father has been battling Parkinson’s disease for over 20 years. Because Parkinson’s has no cure, my co-chairs and I feel the need to do everything in our power to raise dollars and awareness for the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, so that ultimately, we will find a cure,” said Mrs. Goldman-Pittel, a PDF Board Member. “We’re grateful to the members of our community who helped us raise more than ever for critical Parkinson’s research at Martinis & Bellinis. The response to our annual PDF Helping Hours events has been wonderful and continues to grow.”
Mid-Hudson Valley Support Group Raises $14,000 at Sixth Annual Walk
The Parkinson's Support Group of the Mid-Hudson Valley, led by Chairwoman Nancy Redkey, raised $14,000 for PDF at their sixth annual "Walk Over Water," held on April 24, 2016, in the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park in Poughkeepsie, NY. It featured free educational materials, Parkinson's awareness materials and activities for children. New York State Senator Sue Serino presented a proclamation declaring April Parkinson's Awareness Month. The event also honored 20 of the support group’s members who have participated in clinical trials to help end Parkinson’s. Since 2010, the support group has raised more than $80,000.
"Parkinson's doesn't just pick a family perfectly suited to dealing with the disease. It knows no favorites. The rich, the poor, scientists, bus drivers; Parkinson's can strike anyone. We all need to be involved to find a cure," said Ms. Redkey.
Family Hosts Fifth Annual Parkinson’s Walk for a Cure in Memory of Father
Teresa Riffle of Circleville, OH, and her community raised more than $5,000 at the Fifth Annual Walk for a Cure at East Pointe Property in Circleville on April 30, 2016. Since 2012, the Walk has raised more than $12,000 for PDF.
With support from her husband Steve and her mother Ruth Anne, Ms. Riffle founded the event in 2012 in memory of her late father and father-in-law who both lived with Parkinson’s disease. The walk is scheduled on the last weekend of Parkinson’s Awareness Month to also coincide with her late father’s birthday.
“My family witnessed the debilitating progression of Parkinson’s in my father and father-in-law. It is our prayer that research provides answers for prevention, a cure, or more effective ways of slowing the progression of the disease,” says Ms. Riffle.
David Eger, Ph.D., of White Plains, NY, continued a warm tradition with the 13th Annual Music for Parkinson's Research Concert on November 22, 2015 in Rye, NY. Nearly 120 guests attended the afternoon of chamber music raising nearly $35,000.
The Attacca Quartet, the Quartet in Residence for the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Gena Raps, of New York, NY, pianist and faculty member at Mannes College The New School of Music, returned to the stage. Guests enjoyed a wine and cheese reception with the musicians following the concert.
Dr. Eger, a former PDF Board Member living with Parkinson’s, is the co-founder of Music for Parkinson's Research. The local volunteer group hosts the concert each year, which has raised more than $500,000 for Parkinson’s research since inception.
“Dr. Eger and his colleagues are tuned in to PDF’s mission to solve, treat and end Parkinson’s disease. We are inspired each year by their passion for making a difference for the nearly one million people across the US living with Parkinson’s,” said PDF President Robin Anthony Elliott.
Gene Ginsberg, M.D., a seasonal resident of Sarasota, FL, performed a piano recital on March 7, 2015, for friends at Piano Distributors in Sarasota, raising more than $3,389 to benefit PDF.
Dr. Ginsberg, 69, a retired geriatric physician, has lived with Parkinson’s since 2006. He was inspired to use his passion for piano for the Parkinson’s cause and organize a concert at his local piano store where he receives lessons. Dr. Ginsberg welcomed 74 guests and played a variety of classical, pop and jazz pieces for over an hour.
“My goal was to entertain but also show others what a person with Parkinson's can do with a little perseverance and ‘give back’ to PDF, an organization that has helped me through it's mission of education and research. I hope to increase awareness and encourage more dialogue about this disease,” says Dr. Ginsberg.
PDF Creativity Artist Dusty Harrington-Collins, 73, of Port Orford, OR, used his paintbrush to make a difference. The artist hosted a sale of his original pastel paintings at the Baycrest Village in the summer of 2014, raising more than $620 for PDF.
Mr. Harrington-Collins, a retired Army veteran, has been living with Parkinson’s since 2008. His pastel painting “To Be Alone,” was selected to appear in PDF’s 2014 Creativity and Parkinson’s Calendar. The positive response he received from his community inspired him to help make a difference.
“I am proud to be able to help PDF fund Parkinson’s research and education by sharing my artwork with others,” says Mr. Harrington-Collins. “Being a part of PDF’s Creativity Project means so much. When I’m painting, I’m not even thinking about Parkinson’s.”
See Dusty in the Media
Challenge Your Campus
University of San Francisco Students Host 5k for Parkinson's
Taryn El Bayar and the Kinesiology Student Association at the University of San Francisco (USF) hosted a 5k for Parkinson’s Awareness Month on April 3, 2016.
The students hosted the event in honor of their loved ones impacted by the disease and raised $500 for PDF.
Liberty University Medical Students Host Second Annual Pancakes for Parkinson’s
Pranamya Mahankali and the Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine-Student Osteopathic Medical Association in Lynchburg, VA, hosted their second annual Pancakes for Parkinson’s on November 30, 2015 raising over $400 for PDF. Their “breakfast for dinner” event on campus featured a raffle and free educational information on Parkinson’s.
“We’re very excited to host Pancakes for Parkinson’s again to benefit PDF and hope to make it an annual event on campus to help raise more awareness in the community. We want to show the impact of Parkinson’s on our population and how it’s so important for the medical community to accelerate a cure for Parkinson’s disease and improved therapies for those living with it today,” says Ms. Mahankali.
Wellesley Middle School Students Throw Pies for Parkinson's
Lexi Ashraf had the perfect recipe for success after her seventh grade teacher challenged her class to make a difference. Ms. Ashraf organized a Pies for Parkinson's event on February 6, 2015 at Wellesley Middle School in Wellesley, MA, raising $2,347 for PDF.
She was inspired to organize the event in memory of her grandfather who lived with the disease. The cause was also important to her teacher Andy Crowe, whose mother lives with Parkinson’s.
Ms. Ashraf and her fellow students challenged their teachers to take on Pies for Parkinson's. For every $100 raised, a “favorite” teacher took a pie to the face.
Lauren Mattioni ran the Arizona Rock ’n’ Roll Half Marathon in Phoenix, AZ, on January 17, 2016, raising $350 to benefit PDF.
"My grandmother was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 1990, the same year I was born. Sadly, she passed away in 2010. She was an incredible woman who worked hard her entire life to build a bright future for her family. I know that I owe so much of my success to her example of hard work, compassion, and always doing one's best for the most important people in your life. Now, I want to honor her memory and her legacy of helping others as a PDF Champion,” says Lauren.
For Philadelphia, PA, resident Rachel Isenberg, summer is a time for adventure dedicated to a cause close to her heart: Parkinson’s disease. Since 2010, Rachel has scaled mountains, biked across states and ran half marathons to raise nearly $27,000 for PDF. On August 27, 2016, she took on a kayak and bike expedition of over 200 miles across the San Juan Islands, WA.
Ms. Isenberg, an English language instructor and tennis professional, takes on physical endeavors each summer in honor of her mother who lives with Parkinson’s disease and her late grandfather.
"These summer challenges have become such a fun and meaningful part of my life. Each summer, I look forward to sharing an adventure with dear friends and building community around it. It is truly my pleasure to help the Parkinson’s cause and support PDF’s work by challenging myself each year,” she says.
Giles Malieckal of Queens, NY, ran the Staten Island Half Marathon on October 12, 2014 raising $1,386 for PDF.
Mr. Malieckal, 34, is a mental health counselor and social worker. An avid runner, he was inspired to dedicate his first half marathon in memory of his late uncle who lived with Parkinson’s.
“My uncle struggled with Parkinson’s disease for more than seven years. It is important to me to not only raise funds, but also raise awareness for things that may not be getting enough attention, like Parkinson’s. I hope that by testing myself physically in this race, I will help PDF fund research and educate others on what people with PD are struggling with everyday,” says Mr. Malieckal.
Off-Roading Business Owner Hosts Fourth Annual Shake, Rattle and Crawl Event for Parkinson’s Awareness Month
Dawn Judson of San Antonio, TX, and her company Bikini Offroad hosted the fourth annual "Shake, Rattle and Crawl" at Hidden Falls Adventure Park in Marble Falls, TX, on April 16, 2016. Participants drove the scenic trails and hills in their ATVs, jeeps, motorcycles and trucks. The outdoor, four-wheeling event raised $4,500 for PDF and featured a scavenger hunt, a raffle and dinner.
Ms. Judson organizes the benefit in honor of her late father-in-law, John Judson, who lived with Parkinson’s. Since 2013, her family has raised more than $16,000 for PDF.
“John was a loving husband, father of three children and grandfather of five grandchildren. He was a great man that did not let Parkinson’s disease define who he was. We would like to help in any way we can by hosting this event every year to raise funds for this great charity,” says Ms. Judson.
Penoach Winery Hosts Memorial Fun Run/Walk for Parkinson’s Awareness Month in Adel, IA
Stan and Joan Olson hosted the first annual Philip Hufferd Memorial Fun Run/Walk at their Penoach Winery in Adel, IA, on April 23, 2016. They welcomed 89 participants and raised $1,750 for PDF. After the race, all participants enjoyed wine tastings and discounts. In the spirit of the fun run, random finishers received a bottle of wine of their choice. Local PDF Research Advocate, Sam Erwin also shared free educational materials about Parkinson’s.
“We were inspired to host this Fun Run in memory of my late brother who lived with Parkinson’s disease. Our goal was to raise funds for PDF to help end Parkinson’s and to increase awareness of the disease,” says Ms. Olson.
Business Owner Sells Hoagies for Parkinson’s in Honor of Mother
Niraj Patel of Lancaster, PA, is using his business to make a difference by inviting the community to enjoy Hoagies for Parkinson’s at his New Holland Exxon store to benefit PDF. For two years in a row during May and June, 50 cents of each hoagie sandwich sold benefited PDF in honor of Mr. Patel’s mother who lives with the disease.
“I come across many people and family members who don’t understand Parkinson’s, the symptoms or how a person feels. This inspires me to raise more awareness in my community and fundraise for PDF to help find a cure someday,” says Mr. Patel.