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Team Parkinson Sets New Record at LA Marathon
March 4, 2001

Battling a strong headwind and chilly temperatures, 14 marathoners, including three with Parkinson's disease, ran or walked the 26.2 miles of The City of Los Angeles Marathon on March 4 for Team Parkinson, raising thousands of dollars to help find a cure for the neurological disorder.

The LA Marathon is actually several events. In addition to the 26.2-mile race, which athletes can run or walk, there is a 20+ mile Acura LA Bike Tour and a 5K run/walk. Team Parkinson also had a booth at the three-day Quality of Life Expo, which hosted 80,000 people at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

The Team Parkinson marathoners with PD who crossed the finish line were John Ball, 56, of Whittier, California, who has had Parkinson's disease for over 20 years; Florence Woolery, 44, who was diagnosed 2 years ago; and Nick Camonte, 37, who has had Parkinson's for nearly 3 years. It was John Ball's sixth LA Marathon, the second he has run for Team Parkinson, and he finished the course in 5:38:1l. Running along side to offer support were friends Mark Saxonberg and Patricia Skeriotis, both of whom also worked hard to raise funds.

The other Team Parkinson marathoners ran for family or friends who have Parkinson's. Among them were such volunteers as Matthew Riegler, who ran for his father; Moana Yost, who ran for her mother-in-law; and Elmo Johnson who ran for his best friend.

There were also 7 Team Parkinson competitors in the 20-mile bike ride. Three of the cyclists, Jim Wetherell, Kelly Stuart, and John Rebel, have Parkinson's. Among the bike riders were Regina Romeo, who rode for her aunt, Mary Yost, and Ken Aidekman from New Jersey.

"It was terrific," Edna Ball, Chair 2001 of Team Parkinson, said of the success of this year's event. Ms. Ball was among 17 Team Parkinson members who participated in the 5K run/walk. Two of the 5K competitors have Parkinson's, Stephanie Fromer and Mary Yost, who was joined by several family members.

Other 5K Team Parkinson athletes included Carol Walton, executive director of The Parkinson Alliance, and Bill Ball, 80, in honor of his son's effort in the marathon.

Dr. Michael Jacowec, a Parkinson's disease researcher at the University of Southern California who was the recipient of grant money Team Parkinson raised at last year's LA Marathon, also participated in the 5K walk with his young son Nicholas.

Perhaps most exciting of all was the effort by wheelchair-bound Dan Marcus, 73, who was pushed for six miles by six women. They started at the beginning of mile 21 with one "pusher" and at each mile another joined in until the last mile when his wife, Jean, joined them all on the way to the finish line.

Jean and Daniel Marcus were Team Parkinson's top money raisers this year, winning the gold medal prize of a roundtrip ticket to anywhere in the U.S. "They have brought in over $10,000 and they haven't finished yet," said Edna Ball.

Also participating in the marathon was a group of 14 students from Pacoima Middle School who are part of Students Run LA, a program for at-risk youths in Los Angeles. The students are supported by corporations, which urge the teens to participate in the marathon in order to learn the value of succeeding. According to statistics, kids who finish the marathon with Students Run LA have a much higher percentage graduation rate and go on to college.

"It's a terrific program," said Ms. Ball. "Honda, the main sponsor of the LA Marathon, provides each of these kids with a new pair of shoes for their marathon run. The vice-principal at Pacoima Middle School, Aaron Moretzsky, has Parkinson's disease, and he convinced his students to run for Team Parkinson. Their coach, May Chan, worked with them and all together Aaron and the kids raised over $2300. We really appreciate the effort these wonderful teenagers made for Team Parkinson."

Ms. Ball said there were about 60 people at Team Parkinson's carbo-loading dinner for the athletes the Saturday night before the race. Special guest was May May Ali, daughter of boxing great Muhammad Ali. Her sister, Laila Ali, who is a boxer like her father, was one of this years honorary co-captains. The other honorary co-captains were Rodney Peete and Holly Robinson-Peete.

This is the second year that Team Parkinson was designated as an Official Charity of the Los Angeles Marathon. Last year, Team Parkinson 2000 raised $50,000 for research. Team Parkinson announced that due to the generosity and commitment of the Tuchman Foundation of Princeton, NJ, 50 percent of net proceeds of up to $50,000 will be matched dollar-for-dollar for this year's marathon. To date, Team Parkinson 2001 has raised $60,000 and money continues to come in.

There were 12 Gold Medal Level Sponsorships of $2001 or more, as follows:

Jean & Daniel Marcus Family
Friends of the Marcus Family
Relatives of the Marcus Family
Wells Fargo
In Honor of Ken Curry
In Honor of Jim Provost
In Honor Of John Ball
Scheurer Architects, Inc.
In Memory of Ernest Habeck
USC/NPF PD Clinic for Nick Camonte
UCLA Dept. of Physics & Astronomy
SRLA - Pacoima Middle School

There were 5 Silver Medal Level Sponsorships of $1500 or more, as follows:

The Hotchkin Family
Arthur N. Rupe Foundation
In Memory of Chana Bialek
California Neuroscience Institute, Oxnard
NPF Orange County Chapter

Contributions to Team Parkinson support research by American Parkinson Disease Association, Michael J. Fox Foundation, National Parkinson Foundation, Parkinson Disease Foundation, Parkinson's Action Network and Parkinson's Institute.

Team Parkinson 2001 is comprised of volunteers from the major Parkinson's groups in Southern California and The Parkinson Alliance and the Parkinson's Parkinson Alliance. The Princeton, NJ-based Parkinson Alliance, a national organization dedicated to raising funds to help finance the most scientifically validated research into Parkinson's disease, and the New York City-based Parkinson's Parkinson Alliance provided guidance and resources for Team Parkinson at the LA Marathon.

"The national Parkinson's community came together for the LA Marathon to make this a tremendously successful fundraising event on behalf of Parkinson's disease research," said Ms. Ball.

For more information, contact Edna Ball at Tel: 562-692-8504, fax: 562-699-2917, or Team Parkinson's toll-free number is 877-735-2864

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