Team Parkinson 2003 Sets a New Fundraising Record
at the Los Angeles Marathon
Sunday, March 2, 2003
On March 2, 2003, 76 athletes along with other supporters, many with Parkinsons disease, exceeded their fundraising goal of $125,000 by raising over $170,000 for Parkinsons disease research when they participated in Los Angeles Marathon events. Founded by Mary Yost four years ago, Team Parkinson, an all volunteer non-profit organization and official charity of the LA Marathon (the 4th largest marathon in the world), increases Parkinsons disease awareness and raises funds for research.
Co-chairs John and Edna Ball are the driving force behind Team Parkinson. John was diagnosed with Parkinsons in 1983. Ednas mother lived with PD for 37 years. John Ball states, Team Parkinson is dedicated to finding a cure for this disease, and my wife and I will not rest until our children no longer have to worry about Parkinsons disease in their future.
On race day, 29 Team Parkinson athletes participated in the 26.2 mile Marathon, 2 in the 20+ mile Acura LA Bike Tour, and 45 in the 3.1 mile LA Marathon 5K Run/Walk.
Team Parkinsons top finisher, Charles Eckel of Santa Clara, running in honor of his grandfather, finished 160th overall out of nearly 24,000 entrants in a time of 3:04:38. There were three team members competing in the marathon with Parkinsons disease. They included John Ball, who finished his 8th L.A. Marathon in 5:13:55, Steve Evans, who undoubtedly made history by being the first post-DBS surgery patient to complete a marathon and David Schneider, who traveled from Japan to participate for Team Parkinson. Ken Aidekman, co-founder of the Parkinsons Unity Walk in New York City, ran the first marathon of his life after participating in the Acura Bike Tour for the last three years. Aidekman, Susi Smith of Culver City and Bill Curry of Seattle were all running in memory of their fathers. Fred Kipperman, Director of Major Gifts for the Keck School of Medicine at USC, finished his first marathon in 4:09:42.
Team Parkinson dedicated this year's event to the memory of Daniel Marcus, whose courage and commitment inspired us all. In spite of his blindness and suffering from Parkinson's disease, Daniel participated in the 2001 LA Marathon in his wheel chair when six women pushed his wheelchair over the last 6 miles of the marathon course. Daniel was determined to enter the LA Marathon again in 2002, and have 10 women push his chair 10 miles in order to raise $10,000 for Team Parkinson. Unfortunately, Daniel was too ill at the time and passed away in July, 2002. His family carried on in his honor, as his widow Jean Marcus and daughter Joanie Colvin, along with ten of his caregivers, ran the last 10 miles of the marathon with a large banner bearing Daniel's picture. Daniel's son-in-law John Colvin also ran in his honor, completing the 26.2 mile course in 4:39:40.
In the LA Marathon 5K, Bruce Wisnicki, age 42 and diagnosed with PD nearly 10 years ago, participated in his first run/walk along with his wife and two young children. Jim Wilber, who has also been living with PD for several years, also participated in his first 5K and was joined by his wife and son. Several members of the Ball family were in the 5K to support Johns marathon effort, including his 82-year old father, Bill Ball of Lemon Grove, California. Carol Walton, Executive Director of The Parkinson Alliance, walked in honor of her father.
Jim Parky Wetherell is a veteran rider of the 20+ mile Acura LA Bike Tour. He was diagnosed with PD in 1995, and has been with Team Parkinson since its beginning. Jim has ridden his bicycle more than 30,000 miles since his diagnosis. Ted Bean, diagnosed with Parkinsons in 1989, completed his fourth Acura Bike Tour.
Team Parkinson is also expanding its fundraising efforts in new directions, including participation in other marathons. Team Parkinson was represented by Gabriel Zamora in the San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon, and by Jonathon Schancupp in the New York City Marathon. Additional funds were raised for Team Parkinson when May May Ali hosted a night at the Comedy Store on November 10, 2002. May May is the daughter of Muhammad Ali, who also suffers from Parkinsons disease.
Team Parkinson is making a difference in the Parkinsons community and will continue to increase public awareness and raise funds for research until a cure for Parkinsons disease is achieved. Under the guidance of The Parkinson Alliance and the Parkinsons Unity Walk, Team Parkinson guarantees that 100% of all net proceeds go directly to research.
For more information, please visit the Team Parkinson Web site at http://www.teamparkinsonla.org or contact Edna Ball at Team Parkinson's toll-free number 1-(866) 822-CURE (2873).
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