A new campaign to raise awareness and funds for the National Parkinson Foundation debuts Saturday in Rome, Ga. Moving Day, a fundraising walk, is the first grassroots effort to spotlight Parkinson's disease, a neurodegenerative brain disorder, on a national level, according to the foundation.
Katie Couric is the honorary national chairman of the campaign. Her father, John Couric, 90, died recently from complications of the disease.
"Parkinson's is a challenging and often debilitating disease that robs too many people of their ability to lead a full life. I watched in awe as my father bravely battled this disease and know that he greatly benefited from care, which significantly minimized his symptoms by addressing all aspects of his well-being," Couric said.
"Every individual coping with this disease should have the same quality care my dad did, and that's why the work of the NPF is so critically important. Its three-pronged mission of research, education and outreach will help countless people suffering from Parkinson's today and will develop better treatments for the scores who will be diagnosed in the future."
In the United States, 60,000 new cases are diagnosed each year, adding to the 1 million people who have Parkinson's disease, according to the foundation. Since 1982, the NPF has funded more than $155 million in care, research and support services.
The Georgia walk at State Mutual Stadium is one of three pilot walks this year; others were held earlier this month in Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. New Moving Day events are planned for 2012 in Minneapolis; Kansas City; Chicago; Sacramento; Sioux Falls, S.D.; Tallahassee, Miami and Boca Raton, Fla.; and Cedartown and Augusta, Ga.
"Moving Day is fun, great exercise and without being obvious, educational," said James Trussell, volunteer executive director of the NPF Georgia Chapter. "But mostly, our community's support enables us to continue to make meaningful changes in the lives of those with PD. We believe that 'people who move change the world.' "
Each walk will feature a Movement Pavilion, with stations such as yoga, Pilates, tai chi and dance. Studies show that movement is beneficial and proven to help manage the symptoms of Parkinson's disease, improving flexibility and mobility. Exercise such as biking and running has been shown to potentially slow down progression.
All proceeds raised from the campaign go to support local services for people living with the disease and research leading to better treatments.
Rome's Moving Day will last from 9 a.m. to noon at the Rome Braves' stadium, 755 Braves Blvd.
To learn more about Moving Day, visit www.npfmovingday.org or call 800-4PD-INFO.