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.
At the end of April 2017, the Light of Day Foundation presented the Parkinson’s Foundation with a check for $100,000, matching donations made by the community during Parkinson's Awareness Month. Since Light of Day was founded in 2000 by Bob Benjamin, a music producer who lives with young onset Parkinson’s disease, its annual rock concerts have raised more than $3 million to benefit Parkinson’s research, including the Foundation’s programs.
Mid-Hudson Valley Support Group Raises $20,000 at Seventh Annual Walk
The Parkinson's Support Group of the Mid-Hudson Valley, led by Chairwoman Nancy Redkey, raised $20,000 for the Parkinson's Foundation at their seventh annual "Walk Over Water," held on April 30, 2017, 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. Since 2010, the support group has raised more than $90,000.
"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.
Co-chairs Doug Stern, Amy Sole and Stephanie Goldman (pictured from left to right with John Lehr, CEO), raised nearly $40,000 at Scotch & Sangria, their fourth annual Helping Hours held on March 2, 2017 at Sear House in Closter, NJ. More than 140 guests enjoyed a special tasting of assorted martinis and bellinis, gourmet dinner and silent auction. The co-chairs led the event along with committee members Josh Bernstein, Donna Brower, Cheryl Phillip, Garen Sass, Jennifer Hoehn Stern, Mara Wallach and Julia Weksler.
PDF Research Advocate and CSRA Parkinson Support Group of Augusta, GA, Raise $10,000, Matched for Research
PDF Research Advocate Joe Kelley of Evans, GA, teamed up with his support group to raise $10,000 for the Foundation’s research programs in December 2016. The Central Savannah River Area Parkinson Support Group of Augusta, GA, which hosts an annual fundraising walk, donated the funds to support our matching gift challenge. Pictured at left is Mary Ann Navarro, treasurer of the support group, presenting the ceremonial check to Mr. Kelley.
Bernadette Lindquist and her family hosted a garage sale in Reynoldsburg, OH, on July 29 and July 30, 2016 in honor of her husband who lives with PD. The family raised more than $800 for PDF and shared free PDF educational materials on Parkinson’s to raise awareness. “While some people came only for the garage sale, we also met many folks who were touched in one way or another by Parkinson's and came out specifically to support PDF,” says Ms. Lindquist.
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 14th Annual Music for Parkinson's Research Concert on November 13, 2016 in Rye, NY. One hundred guests attended the afternoon of chamber music raising more than $30,000. Dr. Eger has been a tireless advocate for the Parkinson’s community since his diagnosis in 2000. Under his leadership, the annual concert has raised more than $530,000 since its inception.
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.
“At the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, we know that ending Parkinson’s is a team effort and we’re indeed fortunate to have Dr. Eger as part of that team. For more than a decade, he has put his passion for music to work to help us advance Parkinson’s research. This year’s Music for Parkinson’s concert was no exception — it was a warm gathering of friends who share a commitment toward the same goal: a world without Parkinson’s," says Robin Anthony Elliott, CEO.
Gene Ginsberg, M.D., of Allentown, PA, once again used his passion for the piano to help end Parkinson’s. Dr. Ginsberg performed his fourth piano recital for friends and supporters from the community on September 24, 2016 at Luther Crest Continuing Care Retirement Community in Allentown, raising nearly $3,000 for PDF.
Dr. Ginsberg is a retired geriatric physician who has been living with Parkinson’s for more than ten years. Since 2015, he has organized four piano recitals through the PDF Champions program. His latest recital not only welcomed 60 guests, who enjoyed a variety of classical, pop and jazz pieces, it also brought the cumulative funds he has raised for PDF to over $13,000.
“My optimism has motivated me to keep playing the piano and show others what a person with Parkinson’s can do, while raising awareness and funds to support PDF, an organization that has helped me through its mission of education and research. I hope this year’s concert — back by ‘popular demand’ — has helped to encourage more dialogue about the 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.”
Challenge Your Campus
Colts Neck, NJ, High School Raises $3,411 at Second Annual Chase the Rainbow 5k Color Run
On May 14, 2016, the Navy Junior Reserves Officer Training Corps at Colts Neck High School in NJ hosted their second annual Chase the Rainbow 5k Color Run.
Hundreds of students and local community members helped raise $3,411 for PDF.
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.
Kay Honors Dad, a Former Triathlete
Two-time PDF Champion Kay Scott is going the distance in honor of her dad, who lives with a parkinsonism. She completed the Virginia Quintuple Anvil Triathlon on October 14, 2016 in Spotsylvania, VA, which includes a 12-mile swim, a 560-mile bike ride and a 131-mile run, to raise funds for PDF.
Ms. Scott’s father has lived with a form of parkinsonism for more than seven years. Inspired by his experience as an avid runner and triathlete, she wanted to challenge herself physically for the cause. Since 2014, she has raised more than $2,400 for PDF.
“Whenever I get tired and discouraged, whenever I hurt, I’ll think about my dad, George, who used to be able to run, who used to be able to bike and swim, and who used to do triathlons too. But now he can’t. That’s why I’m taking on another physical challenge for PDF so we can help others like my dad," says Kay.
Cynthia Runs a Half Marathon to Honor Her Boss
Cynthia Springford of Plaistow, NH, is working overtime for Parkinson’s. She ran 13.1 miles in the Smuttynose Rockfest Half Marathon in Hampton Beach, NH, on October 2, 2016, raising $1,850 for PDF in honor of her boss.
“The Parkinson's cause is important to me because my boss has been living with the disease for the past nine years. Working with him day after day, I see how it can affect him. Some days are easier than others. Some days are tougher. I feel the need to give back and help end Parkinson’s the only way I know how … to run for him,” says Cynthia.
Rachel Hikes Maclaren Glacier, AK, in Ninth Summer Challenge
Since 2008, Rachel Isenberg of Philadelphia, PA, has scaled mountains, biked across states and ran half marathons each summer to raise more than $32,000 for PDF. For her latest summer challenge, she hiked more than 12 miles with her friend at the Maclaren Glacier and paddled 10 miles along the Maclaren River in Alaska on August 2 and August 3, 2016. PDF recently honored Ms. Isenberg with its Page and William Black Humanitarian Award at its annual gala in May 2016.
“Being able to do this to honor my mom, who faces her disease with strength and grace, is incredible,”says Ms. Isenberg.
Jamie Malam of Huntington Beach, CA, set his wheels in motion to help end Parkinson’s. He completed his 514-mile six day Cycle for a Cure from San Francisco to Huntington Beach, CA, on August 2, 2016. With support from his wife Lucia along the way, he raised $2,220 for PDF in honor of his father-in-law who lives with Parkinson’s.
“My father-in-law is very active and loves tennis and soccer. His Parkinson’s diagnosis dramatically impacted his life and our whole family. This is the first time I am doing a physical challenge of this magnitude and I know that every effort, no matter how big or small, helps make a difference,” says Mr. Malam.
Vice Chair of PDF Advisory Council and Family Paddle for Parkinson's
A.C. Woolnough of Sandpoint, ID, his nine-year-old grandson Nathan and other family members Paddled for Parkinson’s in July 2016. Over the course of the month, they kayaked around Lake Pend Oreille, ID, to raise more than $700 for PDF.
“I want to be the last generation living with Parkinson’s. That’s why I’m dedicating this kayaking adventure in memory of my late father to support PDF’s efforts to end the disease,” says Mr. Woolnough, Vice Chair of PDF’s People with Parkinson’s Advisory Council.
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.