Unshaken by Parkinson's Disease, Minnesota Man Hopes to Move Research a Step Closer to Cure With New York 'Walk'

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On April 24, Plymouth, Minnesota resident Mike Justak will join thousands who will assemble in New York City's Central Park to "walk" on behalf of those with the incurable Parkinson's disease(PD). His effort is entitled "Mike's Walk for PD" which hopes to raise funds while increasing awareness of the disease. Currently Parkinson's affects over 1.2 million Americans. Diagnosed with the disease at age 47, Justak decided he wanted to do more than just sit back and let the progressive disease take control of his body. He now has a dual career. He is a business executive by day and Parkinson's crusader by night.

Parkinson's disease is thought of as a disease of the elderly. But of those diagnosed nearly 1 in 5 are younger than 50 at the time of diagnosis.

With the backdrop of the Parkinson's Unity Walk, which is the largest grassroots effort for Parkinson's disease, Justak will walk alongside thousands in Central Park on Saturday, April 24. "I want to illustrate that the 'face' of Parkinson's is changing. It is usually thought of as a disease of the elderly, however nearly one-in-five are younger than fifty when diagnosed. Mike's Walk for PD is a way to get the message out while raising funds to benefit those affected with this disease," Justak noted. His website contains  images of Parkinson's sufferers, all of whom were diagnosed at an age under fifty. High profile figures who have Parkinson's include actor Michael J. Fox and former NBA player Brian Grant.
 
Parkinson's disease is a progressive, neurological disorder for which there is no cure. It strikes when a brain chemical, dopamine, no longer exists in sufficient quantity. Dopamine works like oil in an engine, providing the means for smooth transmission of movement of one's muscles.
 
Justak's appeal for pledges is unique. He asks that you treat him to a cup of your favorite coffeehouse coffee. "Of course I don't drink alone, so you join me," Justak chimed in. "So, with tax and tip that makes it seven dollars." He then urges you to forgo the coffee, take the seven dollars and donate it to his cause.
 
Armed with a Mayoral Proclamation from Plymouth, Minnesota's Mayor Kelli Slavik, Justak hopes to "stir up" interest in his cause. Funds raised from Mike's Walk will benefit Parkinson's sufferers through his IRS approved non-profit public charity, PFP Inc. "PFP seeks out new Partnerships for Parkinson's. Each day I crusade for a cure, for a way to make a difference in the life of someone who has this terrible disease. I will walk. I ask for a simple gesture. That being to forgo seven dollars of your weekly coffee budget and join me in taking a step closer to the cure."

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