- Parkinson's Unity Walk — annual fundraiser that gathers thousands from the PD community in Central Park — to transition from Parkinson Alliance to Michael J. Fox Foundation as of October 1, 2022 (for April 2023 event)
- Unity Walk staff will work closely with the Foundation in first year to maintain continuity
- Goal is to streamline and grow mission of Parkinson's Unity Walk to support the broad needs of the unified Parkinson's community
NEW YORK, Sept. 8, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (MJFF) and The Parkinson Alliance announced today that the Parkinson's Unity Walk — a fundraising event held each April in New York City's Central Park — will be hosted by MJFF starting in 2023.
The goal of the Unity Walk has always been to bring a unified Parkinson's disease (PD) community together around a shared goal: to cure Parkinson's. Since its inception in 1994, the event has dramatically scaled — from 200 participants in its first year to 11,000 around the United States and more than 30 countries by 2019. To date, the event has fundraised more than $29 million for Parkinson's programs and research. In order to meet the growing scale of the Unity Walk's mission and reach more people impacted by PD, the Unity Walk Board of Directors has decided to transition the event to MJFF in order to leverage the Foundation's robust engagement onramps and network.
To commemorate the event's transition, Martin Tuchman, Chairman of The Parkinson Alliance, and Michael J. Fox remarked on the unified vision of both organizations to speed a Parkinson's cure:
"The Unity Walk was founded by Parkinson's patients who saw the immeasurable value of bringing together the community. Thanks to the efforts of our team, event participants, volunteers and donors, we surpassed even the biggest goals that we set for ourselves," said Martin Tuchman, Chairman of The Parkinson Alliance and the Parkinson's Unity Walk. "I'm pleased that MJFF will bring its scale and expertise to take this event to the next level while maintaining its tradition as a resource for every person touched by this challenging disease."
"When the Parkinson's community rallies together, magical things happen," said Michael J. Fox. "For years the Unity Walk has united patients and families raising millions of dollars to advance critical programs and research. We look forward to continuing the incredible legacy of this event."
As of October 1, 2022, MJFF will be responsible for the Unity Walk's ongoing production and implementation. Staff from both organizations will closely work together in the first year to plan the April 2023 event while maintaining the event's continuity. The Parkinson Alliance will remain a separate 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and will continue its operations independently.
Looking ahead, MJFF will continue the Unity Walk's tradition of presenting a day of activity for the community to celebrate, learn and connect, while raising critical funds for a cure. In the ongoing spirit of the Unity Walk, 100 percent of proceeds from fundraising will be used to support the research and public policy priorities that people and families living with Parkinson's urgently need. Corporate sponsorship from industry partners will continue to support the operating costs of the Unity Walk.
Since its start, the Parkinson's Unity Walk's mission has been to raise funds for research to find a cure. The event was founded by Ken Aidekman and the late Margot Zobel — two friends who connected at a policy and advocacy event and began envisioning an event that could unite patients, their friends, families and doctors. Today, the Unity Walk draws the largest number of participants for a single-day grassroots Parkinson's fundraiser in the United States.
"MJFF and The Parkinson Alliance share a profound commitment to doing all we collectively can to support the millions of people with Parkinson's. For decades, the Unity Walk has welcomed thousands into its network and invited them to take action," said MJFF CEO and Co-Founder Deborah W. Brooks. "As new stewards of this event, we are honored to continue this tradition and to connect more people to the important role they each can play in helping to eradicate this disease."
MJFF will update its community and former participants of the Parkinson's Unity Walk as the Foundation lays the groundwork for the April 2023 event. Learn more and follow along at michaeljfox.org.
As the world's largest nonprofit funder of Parkinson's research, The Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to accelerating a cure for Parkinson's disease and improved therapies for those living with the condition today. The Foundation pursues its goals through an aggressively funded, highly targeted research program coupled with active global engagement of scientists, Parkinson's patients, business leaders, clinical trial participants, donors and volunteers. In addition to funding $1.5 billion in research to date, the Foundation has fundamentally altered the trajectory of progress toward a cure. Operating at the hub of worldwide Parkinson's research, the Foundation forges groundbreaking collaborations with industry leaders, academic scientists and government research funders; creates a robust open- access data set and biosample library to speed scientific breakthroughs and treatment with its landmark clinical study, PPMI; increases the flow of participants into Parkinson's disease clinical trials with its online tool, Fox Trial Finder; promotes Parkinson's awareness through high-profile advocacy, events and outreach; and coordinates the grassroots involvement of thousands of Team Fox members around the world. For more information, visit us at michaeljfox.org, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn.
The mission of The Parkinson Alliance is to raise funds for research to end Parkinson's disease, support the development of new therapies, and improve the quality of life for those living with the disease through patient-centered research and resources. The Parkinson Alliance stands as the umbrella organization for the Parkinson's Unity Walk, Team Parkinson, and other fundraising events held around the country.
SOURCE The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research; The Parkinson Alliance