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When Life Gives You Parkinson’s podcast: Fundraising is a family affair

The Tremor Trot was a family affair from top to bottom.
The Tremor Trot was a family affair from top to bottom. Supplied

This is a special bonus episode of the When Life Gives You Parkinson’s podcast that we are calling Extra Dosage. Full episodes of Season 2 are available every other Wednesday. Feel free to write us at parkinsonspod@curiouscast.ca.  

This Extra Dosage of the When Life Gives You Parkinson’s podcast is about a young man and his family using their passion for running to help raise funds for Parkinson’s research.

Anthony Kerkman, 32, lives in Pickerington, Ohio, in an idyllic neighbourhood with sprawling, manicured lawns, multi-tiered back decks and driveways that are three cars wide.

In September 2018, Anthony emailed me directly for the first time in his life to tell me how much he liked the podcast and how touched he was by my story.

A month later, he emailed again. I was the one fighting back tears as he wrote to me with the desire to do something to help spread the word about Parkinson’s.

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READ MORE: When Life Gives You Parkinson’s podcast — Still me, but not the same

Over the next 10 months, Anthony, Lesley and daughters Hannah, 15, and Sophia, 11, worked with the Michael J. Fox Foundation and the Columbus Running Company to organize a family-friendly 5K walk/run.

Anthony met with city officials, fire chiefs and school administrators. He filed for permits, ordered T-shirts, found sponsors and rallied his family and friends from all sides.

I flew to Ohio for the Aug. 24 Tremor Trot. Anthony, his family and I showed up before sunrise to hang banners, greet volunteers and set up tables so his grandmas could run registration. Family friends staffed the water stations.

It was a family affair from top to bottom. Even Hannah was instrumental in the event, having drawn the very cool logo of an orange fox in sunglasses running a race.

Before too long the crowds arrived, and I immediately recognized many faces. It was a mix of childhood friends, fraternity brothers and my parents’ friends for 60-some years. They were there to support Anthony and his efforts to raise money for Parkinson’s research as much as they were there to support me and my journey with PD.

READ MORE: When Life Gives You Parkinson’s podcast — Dyskinesia

Anthony wasn’t surprised.

“We are down here watching you do all this advocacy in Canada and we’re not in Canada. We’re here,” he said.

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“This was something we could do to show our support.”

WATCH: (Aug. 28, 2018) Parkinson Superwalk raises awareness, funds

Parkinson Superwalk raises awareness, funds
Parkinson Superwalk raises awareness, funds

By the time the whistle blew to start the 5K, 175 participants had signed up — which far exceeded Anthony’s goal of 75. The event raised $8,000 for the Michael J. Fox Foundation, 100 per cent of which will go directly to high-impact Parkinson’s research.

What I have learned through Anthony’s efforts is that everyone can do something to help raise funds or awareness of Parkinson’s.

I host a podcast, speak on radio and TV and host events. That is my superpower, while running in 5Ks for charity is Anthony and Lesley’s. Use what comes naturally to you to help make a difference in the lives of people with Parkinson’s disease. Go ahead, take the first step.

Parkinson’s IQ + You

In the coming months, I will be travelling with the Michael J. Fox Foundation to host a series of live, free, day-long educational events called Parkinson’s IQ + You. We will be featuring highlights of each event in upcoming Extra Dosage episodes. If you live in the United States, I hope to see you soon! See the full schedule and register for free here.

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  • Saturday, September 14, 2019: The series kicks off in Atlanta, Ga.
  • Saturday, December 14, 2019: Anaheim, Calif.
  • Saturday, January 11, 2019: Phoenix, Ariz.

Other sites recently announced include South Florida, Chicago, Oakland and Houston.

If you have a comment or question about the podcast, you can email us: parkinsonspod@curiouscast.ca

 We invite you to add your voice to the show and leave a message for us here; https://www.speakpipe.com/WhenLifeGivesYouParkinsons

Follow me, Larry Gifford 

Twitter: @ParkinsonsPod

Facebook: Facebook.com/ParkinsonsPod

Instagram: @parkinsonspod

Follow co-host and producer Niki Reitmayer

Twitter: @Niki_Reitmayer

Special thanks to…

Anthony Kerkman, Lesley Kerkman, Hannah and Sophia, Marty Gifford, Dan Gifford, Dee Gifford, Tracy Cherry, Debi Brooks, Columbus Running Company and the city of Pickerington, Ohio.

For more info on our presenting partner Parkinson Canada head to www.parkinson.ca/

The toll-free hotline 1-800-565-3000

Or follow them on Twitter @ParkinsonCanada

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Thanks also to our content and promotional partners

Parkinson’s IQ + You – A free series of Parkinson’s events from the Michael J. Fox Foundation

Spotlight YOPD – The only Parkinson’s organization dedicated to raising awareness for young onset Parkinson’s disease.

When Life Gives You Parkinson’s was selected as one of Apple’s best podcasts of 2018

We LOVE that you are loving the “When Life Gives You Parkinson’s” podcast! If you haven’t subscribed yet — what are you waiting for? 

Subscribing’s easy! Here’s how…

On your iPad or iPhone:

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  • Open the Google Podcasts app, search for When Life Gives You Parkinson’s and select it from the list of results.
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  • Click the name of an episode from the list below to listen.
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