The largest grassroots awareness event for Parkinson’s disease (PD), the Unity Walk is anticipated to attract more than 10,000 participants. If you’ve never attended something of that size, it’s quite a lot of people. Beyond the sheer scope of the event, there’s another noteworthy fact: 100% of all donations go towards research supported by the seven major US Parkinson’s foundations.* In 2011, that came to more than $1.5 million!
Now in its 18th year, the Unity Walk is an opportunity for solidarity amongst the different PD organizations. Admirably, these groups have shown there’s no need to compete for funds when you can come together as one. “This event truly unifies the whole Parkinson’s community behind a common mission—supporting the best, cutting-edge research,” says Joyce Oberdorf, President and CEO of the National Parkinson Foundation. “It is like no other.”
What’s new for 2012? First, there’s a new 1.4 mile walk route in Central Park – slightly longer than 2011 but shorter than in previous years. (It is wheelchair accessible.) There will be free coffee served this year, and there will also be four food trucks on hand. Another fun feature is the Team Photo Booth. Get a printed copy of your photo right away and then download a digital copy later from the vendor website. Learn about other new aspects here.
Over the years, PatientsLikeMe has sponsored a number of Unity Walk teams through our PatientsLikeMeInMotion program, which provides bright blue T-shirts, a monetary donation and more. We’ve also attended the Unity Walk and interviewed some of the PatientsLikeMe members present. Check out the short one-minute video below featuring four members of Team PatientsLikeMe at the 2010 Unity Walk. (Find other Unity Walk interviews on our YouTube channel.)
*All Unity Walk donations are split evenly among these seven US organizations: American Parkinson Disease Association, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, National Parkinson Foundation, Parkinson’s Action Network, The Parkinson Alliance, Parkinson’s Disease Foundation and The Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center.