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Pacing for Parkinson's: The Early Years
Paul DeLuca and the team on race day in 2010, P4P's second year.
Paul DeLuca and the team on race day in 2010, P4P's second year.

By Paul DeLuca, Founding Chair of Pacing for Parkinson’s

It all started late in 2008 when the Johns Hopkins Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorder Center (PDMD Center) approached Paul DeLuca and Laverne Williams with the idea that we should organize a running team to participate in the Baltimore Running Festival. They explained that a few years prior there had been a group known as the “Movers and Shakers,” led by Jeff Shinholt, that had quickly built a faithful following and help raised funds for the Center’s initiatives.

Paul and Laverne agreed to serve as Co-Chairs for the 2009 team. The first year’s committee was a small group: Paul, Laverne, Becky, Quinn Tyler (PDMD Center), Dave Brown, and the two Sue’s. We settled on the name Pacing for Parkinson’s with a P4P logo and set a modest goal to raise $30,000 in the first year. When race day hit, we had 78 runners and had raised nearly $50,000. Our first corporate sponsor was NuStar Energy, who have supported us generously through all 10 years. Our Top Team of the year was Sydney’s Turtles led by Sydney Keys and the entire Keys family. Some of the runners with us in year 1 that became longtime supporters include Steve Anderson, Shellie DeLuca, Grace DeLuca, Pat Kaunitz, Michael Kaunitz, Dr. Grill, Sydney Keys, Will Keys, Eric Keys, Elaine Keys, Arita McCoy, and Erika Swan. Our race day tent experience was nothing like what our runners enjoy today, with a modest supply of Chick-fil-A sandwiches and just water (no Gatorade) being the core of our provisions.

In the coming three years we grew at a modest pace, with runner totals of 113, 122, and 160 in 2010, 2011, and 2012 respectively, and each year raising between $50,000 and $60,000. The significant changes in 2010 were the addition of Pat Kaunitz and Stacye Kellerman to the P4P committee and the overwhelming support from Team John and the extended Kellermann family. 2011 saw a fierce team fundraising competition brewing between Team DeLuca, Sydney’s Turtles, and Team John. Team John blew the rest away, raising nearly $10,000! 2011 also marked the addition of Andy Katz to our committee. In 2011 we also added Donna’s Café as our race day food partner, and through the generosity of our team member Alan Hirsch they’ve remained our primary lunch supplier through all the coming years. Throughout these three years we were quickly outgrowing the small 10x10 tent space that the race organizers would allocate to us on race day. We were excited and thankful in 2012 when the charity tents were moved to Ravens stadium and became large hospitality tents. The 2012 race also marked two significant additions to our committee that would impact the growth we would see in the coming years: Bailey Vernon and Tom Kozlowski.

Although our dollars raised began modestly, we came to realize in the early years that P4P’s impact went far beyond the funds raised for the JHU PDMD Center. Our little grassroots running team was in fact building a Parkinson’s support community unlike anything we had anticipated. The ability of our committee members and runners to meet others battling the disease, celebrate their accomplishments they achieved on race day, and to unite their families through the Parkinson’s community event all produced a community feeling that significantly enhances the existing support built through other educational and family support activities.

In 2013 we exploded to 286 runners, solidifying our role as one of the largest charity partners of the Baltimore Running Festival. We hit the $100,000 mark that year and have maintained the six-figure annual mark since then. We also revamped our logo that year, marking the debut of the core of the current P4P graphics. This set the stage for the next half-decade of P4P dominance at The Baltimore Running Festival…

Look in the coming weeks for the second installment of P4P History covering 2013 to the present. If there are any memorable moments you’d like to share, please let us know! You can email us at pacing4parkinsons@gmail.com.

 
Watch the P4P Promotional Video from 2016!
 
Meet the 2018 Committee
Aliya Reich and mother Sara
Aliya Reich and mother Sara
Aliya Reich, Co-Chair
Aliya came to be involved with Pacing for Parkinson's after running the Baltimore Running Festival 5k in 2013 and just happened to walk by the P4P tent. The rest was history! The P4P cause is of particular meaning to Aliya because both of her grandfathers suffered from Parkinson's Disease, and her mother has been coping with its effects herself since 2007. 2018 marks Aliya’s second year as co-chair of the committee, her fourth year on the committee, and her fifth year running with the team - this year, she'll EITHER complete her first Balti-MORON (5k and the half marathon in the same morning!) or...perhaps...a slightly longer race. Only time will tell. Aliya has raised more than $10,000 for P4P since 2014.
 
Kaylin Kopcho
Kaylin Kopcho
Kaylin Kopcho, Co-Chair 
Kaylin Kopcho the 2018 co-chair of the Pacing for Parkinson's committee. She is also a development officer for the Johns Hopkins Department of Neurology. In this role, Kaylin connects the passions of individuals and organizations with philanthropic investment opportunities in the Division of Neuroimmunology and Neurological Infections and the Division of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders. She has been involved with Pacing for Parkinson's since 2015 and served on its committee since 2016.
 
Paul DeLuca, along with daughter Grace and wife Shellie
Paul DeLuca, along with daughter Grace and wife Shellie
Paul DeLuca, Founding Member
I decided to get involved in Pacing for Parkinson’s because the need was genuine.  The JHU PDMD center is committed to improving the lives of PD patients and their families.  The challenge to do more is always there, and if we can help to enable even a few more programs it is well worth my time. This organization allows me to not only give back to an organization that benefitted my family tremendously, but also gives me an extreme amount of personal satisfaction that I am somehow able to bring those affected by Parkinson’s Disease closer as a community so that they can help each other.
 
Julie Bullock and husband Brandon
Julie Bullock and husband Brandon
Julie Bullock
The Bullocks are a family of two ... plus the support of too many to count. Even as Julie experiences Parkinson's Disease daily, she uses a sense of humor to share the challenges that come with it. Julie urges everyone speak openly about PD and helps others to build on what they know from a patient's POV. Brandon works year-round to ensure that businesses are made aware of the PDMDC and encourages them to support their community and their customers at a tangible level. In the 6 years their team "FMD & Friends" has been fundraising, they have generated over $45,000 of support, a number they are striving to add to significantly in 2018. This is the third year that Julie has served on the P4P committee.
 
Geordan Burton
Geordan Burton
Geordan Burton
Geordan Burton is a development officer for the Johns Hopkins Department of Neurology. In this role, Geordan is tasked with event, volunteer engagement, individual and sponsorship fundraising, and communications responsibilities. Geordan’s focus within P4P is to help continue our growing relationship with our current and future sponsors. She joined the Pacing for Parkinson’s committee in 2017. 
 
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Ryan Dreibelbis
I started with P4P in 2015 and became more active with the committee in 2017, authoring the Parkinson's Warriors series. My dad, Dan, has been diagnosed with Parkinson's since 2008. I hope that working on the committee can help others experience the feeling of community I get from P4P.
 
Team Hobart in 2017, with Kathy at center
Team Hobart in 2017, with Kathy at center
Kathy Hobart
I came to P4P largely through running in the Baltimore Running Festival. My husband had been recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s and I was searching for a way to DO something. As a result, I met many wonderful people associated with Pacing for Parkinson’s and from there it was an easy step to become actively involved. I look forward to participating in many events as well as become educated about Parkinson’s and an advocate for those facing the challenges of Parkinson’s.
 
Andy Katz & Team Thunder Katz
Andy Katz & Team Thunder Katz
Andy Katz
Andy and his wife Susan participated in their first P4P 5K race  in 2011,  the year after he was first diagnosed with Parkinson's. Since then Andy has been active with the P4P committee in various capacities. Since his diagnosis, Andy has participated in numerous clinical research studies including PPMI sponsored by the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Andy is a presenter at the biannual newly diagnosed PD seminars conducted by Hopkins PDMD staff and at biannual clinical skills training sessions for first year neurological medical students. Each year Andy and Sue have fielded a 5K team of family and friends larger than the previous year. Last year the Thunderkatz numbered 15. We'll see you on race day.
 
Jenna Scott
Jenna Scott
Jenna Scott
I love running and anything fitness related. I was so excited to discover Pacing for Parkinson's on the Baltimore Running Festival website in 2013. My Granny had Parkinson's at the time and it was an amazing way to feel like I was making a difference in the Parkinson's community and to have the chance to connect with  other supportive people who were in a similar position to myself. There are so many exercise programs for people with Parkinson's that I have learned about while running for P4P that I did not know about while my Granny was battling Parkinson’s. My hope in running for P4P is to raise awareness and education on Parkinson’s so that families and individuals never feel like they are handling this alone. When I feel tired or fatigued during runs, I think of my Granny and all of the other people with Parkinson’s now and it motivates me to never give up and to run even harder. This year I am extremely grateful to be a part of the P4P committee! 
 
SheTiel Winder
SheTiel Winder
SheTiel Winder
Approximately ten years ago my father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. As I have gotten older I have looked for opportunities to get more involved with Parkinson’s community while also supporting my father through his journey. After running in the Baltimore Running Festival for Pacing for Parkinson’s, I realized that I wanted to do more. I decided to join the P4P community! 

 
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Thank you from the faculty & staff at the Johns Hopkins Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Center!

We hope to see you on October 20, 2018!
 
Are you interested in joining the 2018 Pacing for Parkinson's organizing committee? Email pacing4parkinsons@gmail.com!