Twenty years ago, a courageous woman set out on a mission to create change in the Parkinsonís community. In 1994, Margot Zobel (1936-2010), a person with Parkinsonís disease, singlehandedly rallied a small group of 200 supporters to create the first Parkinsonís Unity Walk. Together, they raised $16,000 for Parkinson's research that inaugural year.
Now imagine a beautiful spring day in 2013 when the Parkinsonís Unity Walk brought together more than 10,000 participants and raised over $1.7 million for research.
Margot Zobelís determination lives on, and the community will soon gather once again for the 20th Walk. The 2014 Parkinsonís Unity Walk will take place on Saturday, April 26, at the Naumburg†Bandshell in New York Cityís Central Park. When you join the 1.4-mile, wheelchair-accessible stroll, you will bring us one step closer to our common goal of moving closer to therapies that can improve quality of life for those living with Parkinsonís disease.
The Parkinsonís Unity Walk is the largest grassroots fundraiser for Parkinsonís research in the United States, raising awareness and funds for research. Every penny raised goes to research funded by seven major U.S. Parkinsonís disease foundations, including The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinsonís Research.
From 2013 Walk donations, The Michael J. Fox Foundation is funding a study to demonstrate that inhaled L-dopa safely provides rapid symptomatic relief of OFF episodes during chronic, at-home use.
In addition to the Walkís primary goal to raise funds for research, it is also a day of community and education. At the Walk, informational booths staffed by representatives from companies and organizations working in Parkinsonís disease feature available therapies, information on participating in clinical trials, and advocacy resources. The Ask the Healthcare Experts booth provides access to health care professionals including a movement disorder specialist, neurosurgeon, and physical therapist who can offer general information on disease management.
ďThrough the people my mother met at the Walk, she has joined support groups, learned of new medications, and was referred to the movement disorder specialist she now sees on a regular basis. Without this event, we would be utterly lost. My family owes a great deal to the Unity Walk and I encourage anyone living with Parkinson's or those who know someone affected by it to participate. Simply put, itís a lifesaver,Ē said Jenny Erasmus, Captain of her familyís Parkinsonís Unity Walk team, Deenís Day Trippers.
You can also spring into action locally. The Walk attracts supporters from all 50 states and 23 countries. Participants, who join from a distance, fundraise and plan events all year from their hometowns! However you choose to participate, experience the sense of hope and strength that is created when the Parkinsonís community unites to raise funds and awareness.
To make every step count, register/donate at unitywalk.org. For live updates, follow the event hashtag #puw2014.†