Supporters of research for Parkinson’s disease will gather at Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park on Oct. 8 to raise money and awareness at the second annual Moving Day Long Island. The event is one of 19 taking place across the country this autumn and is being organized by The Parkinson’s Foundation.
The Parkinson’s Foundation, a national organization, is dedicated to funding research and providing educational and medical resources to patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease and their caregivers. The foundation dates to 2016, when two organizations, the National Parkinson Foundation, and the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, both of which were created in 1957, merged.
For 11 years Moving Day has been helping to raise funds and spread the message about Parkinson’s to the national community. Since 2011, the event has gathered 161,000 participants across the country to raise over $35 million dollars to advance medical care for those suffering from Parkinson’s and research for a cure.
Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s, affecting one million Americans and 10 million globally, and is the 14th leading cause of death in the United States. Patients suffer from a progressive loss of motor control, as well as depression and anxiety.
Although there is no known cure for the disease, research for Parkinson’s has been increasing in pace for the last few years. Dr. Ritesh Ramdhani, a neurologist and regional director of Deep Brain Simulation at Northwell Health Eastern, explained that events like Moving Day are a critical part in raising money for the war against Parkinson’s.
“The research horizon has expanded multifold in the last decade for Parkinson’s disease,” Ramdhani said. “We’re in a great period of research right now, and so any funds raised will be going towards expanding and pushing that horizon even farther.”
The event which will begin at 10 a.m. will be a celebration of movement and exercise, important aspects for patients in managing Parkinson’s symptoms. Attendees will go through traditional stretching exercises as well as seemingly unorthodox training like boxing and dance.
The boxing will be conducted with trainers from Rock Steady Boxing, which specifically works with people suffering from Parkinson’s. The dancing will be led by Dance for PD, a nonprofit which has taught people suffering from Parkinson’s from 25 countries how to dance.
According to Laura Higgins, the development manager for the New York and New Jersey chapter of the Parkinson’s Foundation, the goal of the activities is both to highlight the work that goes into living with Parkinson’s disease, while also providing a fun and light exercise for attendees who are also patients.
“We have movement exercises that can range from boxing demonstrations to dancing,” Higgins said. “The great thing is you can usually do all of this movement standing or sitting, so that it’s fully accessible for our patients with Parkinson’s as well.”
In addition to these physical exercises there will be a walk through the park that will head along the path by the beach at 11 a.m., along with a speaking ceremony led by doctors from Northwell Health, the sponsor of the event. There will also be a ceremony where patients, families and caregivers will tell personal stories about their struggles and successes living and dealing with Parkinson’s.
“It’s a really great way to help people living with Parkinson’s and the researchers who work to cure it,” said coordinator Kelly Wexlar, the director of the Neurosciences Service Line Development at Northwell Health. “Events like Moving Day are what make Parkinson’s research possible.”
Moving Day Long Island’s goal is to raise $65,000, and they currently have collected $42,000 in donations. Money is raised by participants, who create teams that independently fundraise and invite others to join in to raise money.
People interested in creating a team and helping the research for a cure for Parkinson’s can head to the foundation’s website, parkinson.org. They are still accepting registrations and encourage anyone who may be interested to attend and help raise money to beat Parkinson’s.