Team Parkinson at the 2004 Los Angeles Marathon

Sunday, March 7, 2004 was the biggest day of the year for Team Parkinson. It was the day of the Los Angeles Marathon, the 25-mile Acura Bike Tour and the Emerald Nuts 5K Walk/Run. Altogether, Team Parkinson fielded 80 athletes in the three events.  Sunday morning dawned clear and bright, but proved to be a very tough day to run a marathon due to the high temperatures. Thermometers were showing nearly 70 degrees (F) at the race start, and reached into the 80's (F) by mid-day! In spite of the heat, 18 members of Team Parkinson entered the marathon and, believe it or not, all five people living with Parkinson's Disease finished the 26.2 miles of the event. Over 24,000 people lined up to start the race, and only 19,400 finished, so Team Parkinson did better than most. Our PLWP (People Living with Parkinson's) finishers were Gail Edgar, Jerry Woudenberg, Steve Evans, David Schneider and John Ball. Both Gail and Jerry were first-time marathoners.
We also had over 50 team members walk or run the 5K event, including representatives from two of Southern California's important Parkinson's disease research community. Members of the USC PD Center joined the "Livewires" from the California Neurological Institute for the 3.1-mile run. In the Acura Bike Tour (25 miles+), Jim Wetherell, a PLWP whose Web site motto is "I never give up", finished his fifth consecutive ride for Team Parkinson.
A special "Carbo-load" dinner for 100 members of Team Parkinson was held on Saturday night to prepare athletes for Sunday's events, and to recognize the efforts of both team supporters and fund-raisers. Dinner speakers included representatives from the event's Premier Sponsor, Boehringer Ingelheim/Pfizer, researchers from USC's Parkinson's Disease Center, and May May Ali, daughter of Muhammad Ali the former boxing great who suffers from Parkinson's.  May May also signed copies of her new children's book about her father.
This marks the fifth consecutive year that Team Parkinson has been an official charity of the City of Los Angeles Marathon. Upcoming events include the Big Sur Marathon on April 25, 2004 and the Bloomsday Run on May 2, 2004 in Spokane, Washington. Team Parkinson has a small team of five entered in the Big Sur race, and enrollment is already capped for the event. In Spokane, Team Parkinson has been selected as the first charitable partner of the 27-year old Bloomsday Run. 

Since the start of its fiscal on June 1, 2003, Team Parkinson has raised over $125,000 year-to-date and will not close this year's fund-raising books until after the Big Sur and Spokane events. In its short five-year history, Team Parkinson has already contributed over $250,000 to research.  Operating under the umbrella of The Parkinson Alliance, located in Princeton, New Jersey, Team Parkinson ensures that 100% of net proceeds from every event supports researchers who are struggling to find a cure for Parkinson's disease.

John and Edna Ball
Co-Chairs, Team Parkinson

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