Coming up: Parkinson's Unity Walk

April 12, 2011 12:47:45 PM PDT
On Saturday, April 16, take a stroll through Central Park for a very worthwhile cause: the Parkinson's Unity Walk. The walk, under the umbrella of The Parkinson Alliance, is the largest grassroots awareness and fundraising event for the Parkinson's disease (PD) community, attracting thousands of participants from across the country and uniting the top Parkinson's research and advocacy organizations.

Registration will begin at 7:30 a.m. at the Bandshell at 72nd Street in Central Park. There is no registration fee, but walkers must raise a minimum of $75 and be present the day of the walk to receive a T-shirt. For more information about registration materials, visit Those who cannot attend the event, can still make donations through the site.

The Unity Walk Kick-Off will start at 9:45 a.m., followed by a 1-mile, wheelchair-accessible walk through the park. The shorter route will allow participants more time to enjoy the park and take part in this day of community and education. Video highlights of the walk will be accessible on the organization's website starting on Tuesday, April 19, and remain archived online for one year.

On "Find A Cure Boulevard," participants will have the opportunity to visit with representatives from national Parkinson's disease foundations and specialists at the "Ask the Doctor Booth," as well as enjoy music, entertainment and refreshments. "Dance for PD," a collaboration between the world-famous Mark Morris Dance Group and the Brooklyn Parkinson Group, will perform two demonstrations of its movement class. Ana Egge, a singer, songwriter and longstanding friend of the Parkinson's community, will also perform. Participants can also enjoy coffee donated from Starbucks.

In addition, visitors to Find a Cure Boulevard will once again have the opportunity to spend time at the booths of the walk's many sponsors, including the Abbott booth where they can have their pictures taken at the "Messages of Hope" wall and leave messages of inspiration and encouragement for the Parkinson's disease community. The global healthcare company Abbott, a premier sponsor, will donate $15 per message, up to $15,000, to the walk. A photo gallery of past messages can be viewed at

At this year's event, Find a Cure Boulevard will be renamed as Margot Zobel Way in honor of the walk's founder, who passed away last year. Ms. Zobel, who had Parkinson's disease, single-handedly rallied a small group of supporters to create the walk in 1994, an event that has grown from 200 to more than 10,000 walkers in 2010. Last year, more than $1.5 million was raised for Parkinson's research.

Since the inception of the walk, one hundred percent of all of the donations raised has been designated for research. Proceeds from the event are shared among the seven major Parkinson's disease foundations: American Parkinson Disease Association, National Parkinson Foundation, Parkinson's Action Network, Parkinson's Disease Foundation, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, The Parkinson Alliance and The Parkinson's Institute and Clinical Center.