The 2nd Annual Shake, Rattle & Roll Peoria Riverfront


It was a picture perfect Sunday and spirits were soaring as nearly 200 people with Parkinson's, their families and friends gathered to walk along the scenic Peoria riverfront for the Second Annual Shake, Rattle and Roll for Parkinson's Disease. The walk, which is sponsored by The Parkinson Alliance, has proven to be not only an effective fundraiser but also a rallying point for People with Parkinson's (PWPs). Black and red balloons marked the waterfront trail that began and ended at Le Vieux Carre, a beautifully restored warehouse that served as walk headquarters for the second year. Live music by well-known local musicians added to the afternoon's festive atmosphere while mistress of ceremonies, WEEK-TV personality Gina Morss, kept things on track from the microphone. Amid calling out winning door prize ticket numbers, she introduced special guest speakers Michael Bryant, CEO of Methodist Medical Center, State Representative David Leich, and Carol Walton, Executive Director of The Parkinson Alliance. Guests lingered for much of the afternoon, enjoying the music and a huge variety of tasty treats provided by area restaurants and caterers. A basket raffle proved popular, with a pair of boxing gloves autographed by none other than Muhammad Ali. (The gloves packed a double punch: Betsy Dubicki, PR chair for the event, won them and immediately returned them to the committee to be auctioned off again on eBay.) "We couldn't have been happier with this event," said co-organizer Joan Blessington Snyder. "It was so wonderful to see all those dedicated people here supporting the cause, and it was a real treat to see our PWP friends from all over the country," She added that the event brought in almost double the money it made last year.

Stanley Synder & Mitch Synder
Sullivan & Angus
Pat Sullivan & Holly Angus

Joan Synder (seated lower left), David Leich, & Michael Bryant

Carvey & Rezak
Dr. Paul Carvey & Dr. Michael Rezak
group of walkers
Group of walkers
grou picture
(l to r) Nancy Abraham, Carol Walton, Dr. Michael Rezak, Brenda Tucker, Dr. Paul Carvey, Dr. Rick Weber, Dr. Jorge Kattah, Holly Angus, and Joan Snyder (seated)
Dr. Michael Rezak
Dr. Michael Rezak
Gina Morss
Gina Morss

Many walkers timed their arrival in Peoria for early Saturday in order to attend the People Living With Parkinson's (PLWP) Symposium at the University of Illinois College of Medicine. Nancy Abraham & Brenda Tucker, co-founders of PLWP, were also in attendance. The presentation was one in an ongoing series called Patients As Providers, which gets Parkinson's patients, doctors, researchers, caregivers and others together to share information and ideas. Dr. Rick Weber, Associate Professor of Immunopharmacology and Microbiology at the U of I College of Medicine, gave a brief overview of Parkinson's disease before introducing the day's guest speakers, Dr. Michael Rezak and Dr. Paul Carvey, both from the Chicago area. Dr. Rezak, Director of the Movement Disorders Clinic and Associate Division Head of the Division of Neurology at Glenbrook/Evanston Hospitals, gave a comprehensive overview of deep brain stimulation (DBS) and the role it plays in treating Parkinson's disease. He stressed that the success of the procedure depends on the careful selection of patients who receive it. "It's not for everyone," he cautioned, "but for qualified patients it can make the difference between being an invalid and leading a pretty normal, active life." Dr. Carvey, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Pharmacology at Rush University in Chicago, then talked about his research with at-risk fetuses whose dopamine producing cells are compromised by their mothers contracting vaginitis during pregnancy. His work may be key to discovering why PD develops in young Parkinson's patients. "We were thrilled to get speakers of this caliber to appear here. They are an incredible wealth of information," said Holly Angus, co-organizer of the event. "And the open forum structure makes it a unique opportunity to learn and interact with others who have similar concerns." PLWP sponsored a picnic at the Pearce Community Center in Chillicothe immediately after the symposium.

It was a weekend of laughter and a few tears. "You wouldn't think that there's any cause for celebration when it comes to having Parkinson's disease, but we Parkies are a special breed," Snyder explains. "We're tough, sensitive, caring and we can take what life throws at us. So when we get together it's usually cause for a party." .

For additional information, please contact Joan Snyder, (309)579-3026, or


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