For the 3rd year in a row, I am volunteering on the Planning Committee for the MOVING DAY® Chicago event which will take place in Lincoln Park on Sunday, October 19, 2014. Once again, I am serving as Subcommittee Lead for Family & Friends Teams. I am also Team Captain for TEAM FALK, my personal fundraising team, in memory of my mother, Gladys, who passed away in 2010 from complications due to PD.
My mother endured a brave, 9-year struggle against this horrific disease. It was extremely heart-breaking to witness such a strong, type-A person slowly lose motor function during the early years of PD and then, in later years, all at once decline rapidly, succumbing to the other brutal and insidious effects of the disease e.g. hallucinations, paranoia, memory loss, trouble swallowing, etc.
Serving on this MOVING DAY® Chicago Planning Committee during its inaugural year in 2012 helped me through my grief following the death of my mother. It also helped me pay tribute to my Dad, Sheldon, who stoically and lovingly became my mother's primary caregiver during her rapid decline from PD. The family and friends who become the primary caregivers to their loved ones also suffer emotional, physical and psychological tolls that affect their own well-being. And, rightly, they deserve to be recognized and honored, too.
My participation in MOVING DAY continues to allow me to channel my grief in a positive and productive way which ultimately has had a tangible effect on the Chicago-are community.
I have met many wonderful, inspiring people who also have been touched by PD in one way or another and who are also committed to making a difference in the fight against this awful disease. I am lucky to call a select few of these people serving on the planning committee my friends.
PD is a debilitating and demoralizing disease which robs people of their motor function and, often times, their cognitive abilities. An estimated 4-6 million people around the world suffer from PD. In the United States, 60,000 new cases are diagnosed each year, and approximately 1 million Americans currently live with this disease. PD is the 14th leading cause of death in the U.S. and the 2nd most common neurodegenerative condition after Alzheimer’s. The prevalence of PD will increase substantially in the next 20 years, due to the aging of the population.
MOVING DAY® is NOT your traditional 5K walk. Rather, it is a unique fundraising and awareness raising event held in local communities across the U.S. It has a family-friendly, festival atmosphere. Participants include PD patients, families, friends, healthcare professionals, corporate leaders and teams, who will join together to raise funds to support patient care and research initiative to beat PD.
Since PD causes people to lose motor function, MOVING DAY® offers PD patients, their family and friends the opportunity to participate in the featured Movement Pavilion where demonstrations of yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates, dance and other exercises are offered, all of which are proven to help manage the symptoms of PD.
In October 2013, 1,500+ people attended the second annual MOVING DAY® Chicago Walk which raised over $370,000. In its 2 year history, MOVING DAY® Chicago has raised over $600,000.
2,000+ participants are expected for this year’s 3rd annual MOVING DAY® Chicago event which we hope will bring Chicago to the 1 million dollar mark! Proceeds raised from this campaign help to improve the quality of care for people with PD through research, education and outreach programs.
A portion of the monies raised will be put aside to eventually open a Chicago chapter of the National Parkinson Foundation which will provide much-need outreach and education to those living with PD, as well as the families and friends who support and care for them on a daily basis.
*****To learn more about the 2014 MOVING DAY® CHICAGO event set for Sunday, October 19th, to register a team, join a team, make a donation or volunteer for this incredibly inspiring event, please visit www.movingdaychicago.org.