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Parkinson's Foundation annual 'Moving Day' made big strides to raise awareness and support for survivors

2 months 3 weeks 3 days ago Sunday, April 03 2022 Apr 3, 2022 April 03, 2022 3:26 PM April 03, 2022 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - April is Parkinson's Awareness Month, and staying active is vital for those who have the disease.

The Parkinson's Foundation made big strides in raising awareness and funding programs in the Baton Rouge area through its annual “Moving Day” Saturday morning. 

Benjamin B.J. Bement was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease about nine years ago. 

“Right after the diagnosis, I had kind of a pity party,” Bement said.

But, he did not let that stop him from living his life with purpose.

“I said, from now on, I'm going to be an advocate,” Bement said.

Now, Bement serves as a chair for the Parkinson’s Foundation Moving Day. 

With the help of the annual event, he and many others with Parkinson’s stay connected and moving to combat the incurable disease. 

“Basically, the more you move, the more you can establish better balance to keep yourself from falling,” Bement said.

Falling and pneumonia are the leading causes of death for people with Parkinson’s disease. 

The event showcased gym, dance and tai chi demonstrations tailored for people with Parkinson's.

“It’s just a good way to spread information about Parkinson's to the community, get more people aware to come out and support,” LSU Public Relations team leader for Moving Day, Courtney Crooks, said. 

Members of the community showed support in many ways.

“They will receive the free baton ribbons that they'll get to wave as they're walking,” she said.

Participants waved blue, white, gold or silver ribbons based on their relationships to the disease. 

The event raised about $40,000 in donations from teams and participants. 

The money generated by the walk will help fund resources and local programs for people with Parkinson’s. 

“A huge portion of the funds that are raised here at the walk come back to Baton Rouge,” Bement said.

While Bement continues to fight his own battle with the disease, he says he is thankful for it. 

“Parkinson's is actually the best thing that ever happened to me,” Bement said. “I tell people that I'm a Parkinson's survivor simply because I intend to go out today to do something that I'm not supposed to be able to do.”

Now, he is able to be a light for Parkinson’s Survivors.

The event raised about $40,000 in donations from teams and participants.

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