The CSRA Parkinson Support Group held its 17th annual POP Walk, or the People of Parkinson’s Walk, Saturday, raising $43,624.75 in their primary fundraiser of the year.
“It’s very important to us because it allows us to do what we want to do,” executive board vice president Joe Kelley said.
The organization raised $54,000 in 2016 and set a $75,000 goal for 2017. Approximately 250 people participated in this year’s walk, working in teams to raise money for the support group prior to the event. Team members walked in honor or memory of loved ones and some patients with Parkinson’s participated by walking one of the eight laps around First Baptist Church of Augusta.
More funds were raised at the walk through donations and raffle ticket sales. Five percent of the funds raised go toward operating expenses for the support group, while the rest is used for education, research and awareness. Two grants totaling $20,000 were awarded before the walk began Saturday.
Kelley said several grant applications were turned away because they were not “robust” enough. Ultimately, the group wants to fund researchers who can find a cure for Parkinson’s disease.
“There’s a lot of research that goes on to alleviate symptoms, but a cure would be great,” Kelley said.
He said while there is lots of research for movement disorders associated with Parkinson’s disease, more work is needed for cognitive disorders.
According to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, as many as 1 million Americans live with Parkinson’s disease. The chances of Parkinson’s increase with age, but around 4 percent are diagnosed by the time they are 50. Medication costs for a Parkinson’s patient are an estimated $2,500 a year and surgeries for the disease can cost approximately $100,000.
For more information on the group, go to ParkinsonCSRA.org.