Rose and Chris Babcock of Orlando, Florida share a commitment to speeding a cure for Parkinson's and a love of a good pint. Since 2015, Pint for Parkinson's events have raised over $15,000 to benefit Team Fox and The Michael J. Fox Foundation.
In 2016 we checked in with this foxy duo to ask what makes their event successful, what tips they have for first-time fundraisers and what they enjoy most about being Team Fox members.
Team Fox: You both have a personal connection to Parkinson’s disease (PD). What motivated you to join Team Fox?
Rose: I'm a physical therapist, and I started noticing signs of PD in my father in 2013. After encouraging him to see a neurologist, he was officially diagnosed a few months later. I've also seen an increase in the number of my patients who have Parkinson's. This gave me motivation to start a support group for people with PD and their caregivers.
Chris: Two years later, after reading the Foundation newsletter, my mom realized that some of the PD symptoms outlined were a little too familiar. A few weeks later she was diagnosed with Parkinson's. Both having a parent with PD, gave extra motivation to help find a cure, especially since the hereditary link with Parkinson's is unknown.
Team Fox: This July (2016), Pints for Parkinson's Orlando (@Pints4PDOrlando) is coming back for round two. Where did the idea for your event come from?
Rose: We met a bunch of Team Fox members during the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and learned firsthand about the incredible ways people were fundraising. We stumbled across other Pints for Parkinson's events across the country. It was the type of event that people of different ages would want to attend, and since the craft beer community here in central Florida is really gaining steam, it seemed like a natural fit.
Team Fox: What tips would you give to a Team Fox member interested in hosting a similar event?
Chris: It's all about the team behind the scenes. Frankly, without the guidance of the venue team at World of Beer at Dr. Phillips, we couldn't have had such a successful event. From the General Manager Mark helping us navigate state liquor laws and connecting us with brand reps, to the bartenders staying past their shift to help us sell raffle tickets, they made it possible for us to make this an annual event!
Rose: Also, I would suggest having lots of help day-of the event. We're so grateful to many people who worked the event including the Harmon family and several Team Fox members who surprised us! Without them, there's no way we could have kept the day going. We originally expected 100 people to attend, but when over 300 showed up, we knew we had hit on something bigger than just the two of us could run by ourselves.
Team Fox: In only its second year, your event has grown leaps and bounds. How has working with local sponsors helped Pints for Parkinson's grow?
Chris: The craft beer community has been more than willing to help out. With every raffle donation and donated keg, we're taken aback at the breweries' generosity. For example, we attend a run club at the local Ten10 Brewing Company and they invited us to host a night dedicated to Team Fox. At that event, we learned that some folks (who we'd been running with for weeks) had a connection to PD. They also taken their support a step further by creating special Team Fox pint glasses that will be sold during Parkinson's Awareness Month (with a portion of proceeds going to Team Fox). Maybe someday we'll have a special Team Fox brew that will be available in your local bar!
Team Fox: What are you most looking forward to at the 2016 event?
Rose: That's easy! The World of Beer folks ring a bell when a keg is finished, and last year we ran out of donated beer two hours and 18 minutes into our six hour event. This was an awesome problem to have! Thanks to a few awesome local beer reps, we've doubled the amount of donated kegs this year. We hope to hear the bell ring a lot more - but hopefully not right away!
In 2017, Pints for Parkinson's now has 8 different kegs of donated beer and features a Foundation inspired beer competition for the "Foxiest Beer" between local breweries.
Team Fox: In addition to creating your own unique fundraisers, you're both Team Fox athletes who have run the TCS New York City Marathon and multiple Walt Disney World races. What inspired you to broaden your involvement?
Chris: Running New York City was a very surreal experience. It was always on our bucket list. Our running partners most of the race - Alanna, Jamie, and Selina - were total strangers from Team Fox, but we ended up crossing the finish line at the same time!
Another memorable moment from New York happened unexpectedly. At mile eight, a group of spectators outside a pub in Brooklyn were jokingly offering beer to runners as they passed. They didn't expect us to enthusiastically accept the cold brew. They were shocked! After a beer and a few photos at their unofficial aid station, we took off running to cheers of "go Team Fox!" This definitely helped us conquer the remaining 18 miles! To our surprise, the NYC Marathon social accounts shared the photos, so we ended up getting some great exposure for Team Fox.
We also both ran the Disney events long before either of our parents were diagnosed with Parkinson's, so it was an easy decision to layer in fundraising for those races. Even when we're not running Disney, we'll be out there cheering on our Team Fox runners, and perhaps hosting a beer stop of our own!
In the fall of 2016, Rose and Chris ran the Chicago Half Marathon for Team Fox. Our Team Fox buddy Jimmy Choi peer-pressured us into running it, but since it's for research, it's the good kind of peer pressure!
Team Fox: What's the best part of being part of Team Fox?
Rose: The best part hasn't happened yet, but we know it's coming - the day a cure for Parkinson's disease is found. Every Team Fox member who hosted a pancake breakfast or ran a 5K, will be able to say "we helped do that!"
Team Fox: What tips would you give to a first time Team Fox member about fundraising?
Rose: Don't feel as if you need to raise a million dollars at your first event. Find something that you're passionate about, and find a way to pull some extra money from it. Whether you make $10 from a lemonade stand, $100 from a garage sale or $1,000 from an Etsy shop, the fact that decided to fundraise for Parkinson's research is the biggest win you can have! Every single dollar raised is appreciated more than you'll ever know.
From pint parties to races and pancake breakfasts, there are many ways to get involved with Team Fox! Gain entry into a sponsored athletic race or create your very own event by visiting teamfox.org today.