The Parkinson’s Disease Support Group of East Tennessee, or PK Hope Is Alive, will host its third annual walk on Saturday, April 5, to raise money for Parkinson’s Disease research. The walk will be held at A.K. Bissell Park at the Oak Ridge Civic Center, with registration starting at 9 a.m. The walk will take place between 10 a.m. and noon.
Last year, PK Hope Is Alive raised more than $21,000.
The local walk will be in conjunction with the 20th annual Parkinson’s Unity Walk in New York City organized by the Parkinson Alliance, a nonprofit umbrella organization dedicated to raising funds to help finance the most promising research to find the cause and cure for Parkinson’s Disease. All the funds raised will be distributed to seven major U.S. Parkinson’s Disease foundations, including the Michael J. Fox Foundation.
Parkinson’s Disease, or PD, is a progressive and degenerative neurological disorder. It occurs when certain nerve cells in the brain become impaired and do not produce enough of a vital chemical known as dopamine. Dopamine allows smooth, coordinated function of the body’s muscles and movement. PD affects both men and women in almost equal numbers. Someone in the United States is diagnosed with PD every nine minutes. It affects more than 1.5 million people in the U. S. and it is estimated that 60,000 new cases are diagnosed each year.
To register as a walker and join the PK Hope Is Alive Team or to sponsor a walker online go to www.unitywalk.org. Walkers who have raised $50 and are present the day of the walk will receive a commemorative T-shirt while supplies last. If you would like to make a donation, send a check made out to Parkinson’s Unity Walk at 117 Newhaven Road, Oak Ridge, TN 37830.
Dr. Patrick Matthiessen of Cumberland Neurology will be the opening speaker and will be available during the walk to discuss PD along with a representative from Medtronic, a company that manufactures deep brain stimulation products used in the treatment of PD. There will also be information tables on speech and physical therapy programs, East Tennessee Personal Care Services, and Amedysis Home Health.
Live music will be performed by a bluegrass trio called Brandywine. Facepainting by Debbie Eason and Viola Redman will be available for a small fee to be donated to the fundraiser. There will be prize drawings for adults and children and goody bags and tulip bulbs to be given to participants at the finish line.
For more information about the fundraising walk, call Karen Sampsell at (865) 482-4867.