Tag Archives: fundraising

The total raised during the 2016 tournament is …

12512238_1010611815693978_2112717737119009760_n.jpgOn April 2, PCRF hosted its 7th annual Golf for the Cure for Parkinson’s at Lake Ashton Club in Winter Haven, Florida. Despite thunder storms with heavy rain, the event was a bright spot for us during Parkinson’s Awareness month.

As always, the Lake Ashton community came together to support us and others on this Parkinson’s journey. TeamFox friends from around the state joined us and Sam Fox from the Foundation for our event.

This year was the first year I have fully allowed the entire Harmon family an equal say in event details and planning. Those who know the Harmon ladies won’t be surprised, when I say “I could not have done it without them.” In fact, I should have done it long ago.

This year we had a Marquis Partner, Family Elder Law from neighboring Lake Wales. In addition to expense and volunteer support, they agreed to match 10% of monies we raised for the Michael J Fox Foundation.

Due to the support and hard work of everyone, I am proud to announce that we raised over $48,000 – 100% of these monies will go directly to research by the Fox Foundation.

A true VICTORY! Thank you one and all.



How much did Golf for the Cure bring in …

Did you see who Team Fox featured on Inspiration Monday?
Did you see who Team Fox featured on Inspiration Monday?

I just wanted to share this photo of Dad with you all and tell you some big news.

So there are still some checks and dollars to be counted, but the 5th Annual Golf for the Cure for Parkinson’s Disease has raised MORE THAN $45,000 for the Michael J. Fox Foundation.


That’s right. Thanks to your support, our sponsors and the Lake Ashton community, in five years, you’ve helped us raise more than $200,000 for the foundation to help find a cure.

I interviewed a mother today, who was diagnosed less than a year ago with PD. She was talking to me about why we do this. Why we fundraise. Why we participate in clinical trials. And she said:

“Maybe more moms at the age of 42 won’t have to look at their kids and say this is going to be a long road, but we’re going to just fine.”

Thank you, thank you, thank you. For being a part of this goal and our journey. We seriously could not do it without each and every single one of you.

Where have we been?

I know, I know. No one likes a blog post that starts off … Sorry for being MIA lately, but. And here it is. There are plenty of excuses of where I’ve been, what the family has been up to, etc. But what it comes down for me personally, is that work has been insane and I’ve been missing out on my PD family.

Let me catch you up with what’s been happening.

Meet the Vanek family: Emily, Sherri, Ben and Michael
Meet the Vanek family: Emily, Sherri, Ben and Michael

Recently, I had the honor of interview the Vanek family for the Michael J Fox Foundation’s blog. The dad, Michael, has PD and is participating in every trial he can. It was seriously one of my favorite, if not my absolute favorite story I’ve written for the blog. Why? Honestly, I’m not sure. But I think it has to do with the innocence of the children in the family.

Little Ben, 6, goes to bed every night praying that “daddy’s Parkinson’s” go away. He doesn’t know what that means really. Nor does he understand that his dad is playing an active role in the cure.
Continue reading Where have we been?

Spread the word! It’s almost time

We’re a month away from the 5th Annual Golf For the Cure for Parkinson’s Disease! 

Check out the press release I typed up for local media, and head over to Dad’s Team Fox page if you’d like to donate. 

It could have been easy in 2006 for Winter Haven resident Bob Harmon to let a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease consume him. Instead, it did not only the opposite for him, but for his family and many in the Lake Ashton community.


It started as a tremor in his pinky finger in 2004,  that turned into trouble eating cereal without spilling. Then his gait changed. After seeing a neurologist, it was confirmed, Parkinson’s. On his way back to work, he called his wife, Cecily, who said “Thank God it’s not something that will kill you in 90 days.” Not only has it not killed him, but it’s inspired him to mentor others, start a support group and raise more than $150,000 so far for the Michael J Fox Foundation.


In doing so, Harmon has spread the word of the disease known by many to affect old the elderly and some famous people Muhammad Ali and Michael J Fox. In 2009, Harmon held the first Golf for the Cure for Parkinson’s Disease in the Lake Ashton community. More than 200 golfers mostly from inside the community packed the two golf courses for a day of golf followed by a luncheon and auction. It became a packed, annual event and in its fourth year, the community helped Harmon raise more than $50,000 for the cure. In 2013, the tournament was in the top 20 fundraisers for Team Fox, the grassroots fundraising arm of the Michael J Fox Foundation.


This year’s tournament — the 5th Annual Golf For The Cure For Parkinson’s Disease — will be held Saturday, April 5 at 8:30 a.m.


Along with his fundraising efforts, Harmon created and facilitates the Lake Ashton Outreach/Support Group and Parkinson’s Cure Research Funding, his own nonprofit. The support group, which he runs with the help of his wife, is open to the general public to provide support to Parkinson’s patients and their care partners. The group meets on the first Friday of the month. Bob and Cecily are also involved in clinical trials, which they found through Fox Trial Finder, the Michael J Fox Foundation’s online clinical trials matching tool. Their twin daughters, Emily and Kate, are also signed up. Emily and Kate also raise money for other Parkinson’s efforts, and Kate writes for the Michael J Fox Foundation.


This year’s tournament will prove to again be a labor of love and hope as the Harmons, the Lake Ashton community and their friends come together to help raise money as they joke on the course. Bob has said he’s not sure a cure will come in his lifetime, but his efforts and those of the Winter Haven-Lakeland community will be a part of bringing that cure to those just like him.

Apathy the silent killer

I know that apathy is typical in PD patients. It has always driven me crazy when I see my fellow journiers (I made this word up, but it works for me) not being aggressive or active in pushing the beast back. Last week, I told Cecily that I was “losing traction” on our sponsor relationships for our fifth golf tournament. She reminded me of the great year we had in 2013 and we don’t always have to be better. It sounded un- American. Don’t we always strive to do better?

So I sat on my ass for a day and reflected. I came away conflicted but directed. From a fundraising standpoint, I am comfortable in knowing the generosity universe in a small community has a limit. Re-energized I caught up on my tournament timeline. Some pluses, some minuses … but every contribution regardless of historical numbers means so much. So to all of us on the money train of charitable efforts,  DO YOUR BEST AND FORGET THE BUDGET AND HAVE FUN.

From the health side, (apathy or even depression) not every day is “fantastic,” but is a day to make the best out of. Actually every day should be fantastic, because we are blessed to have it and there are not promises for tomorrow. Do we feel good everyday? No. But it is like golf. It is not how good your best shot is, it is how much good you can do with a bad shot.

So if you find me sitting on my ass and apathetic, kick me in the ass. Just don’ t kick my foot because it may be already on the way to my own ass. For anyone out there who loses their drive to take the best out of what we have, take heart. You are not alone. Together we will move forward.

TWO SHOES ON AGAIN, as soon as I can get it out of my ass.

York: Where do we go from here?

Want to help me make this year's Pints for Parkinson's better than last? (Photo by John Ryan)
Want to help me make this year’s Pints for Parkinson’s better than last? (Photo by John Ryan)

I could give you lots of excuses about where I’ve been instead of blogging, but they’re just excuses. Work has been busy, life has been busy. Yadda yadda yadda.

Instead, I’ll just jump right into what’s been bouncing around in my brain lately — this year’s Pints for Parkinson’s.

I want to be bigger and better this year, and I’m struggling with direction. So I ask you: friends, family , York …

Where do we go from here?

I’ve thought about upping the ante and making the event into more of a bar crawl with several bars all in walking distance (if the bars will play ball). I’ve thought about what I could do to raise more money — raffles, auctions, more music, art, etc. Then there’s the whole idea of reaching out to find more people. Then my brain gets a little overwhelmed and I worry that I can’t do it. That maybe I can’t raise more than $3,000. What if it was just a one-time deal?

But I refuse to let that stop me. If my Dad and my friends can get up daily to fight PD, I can deal with a little fear of failure. So what should I do to make this year’s Pints for Parkinson’s better?

Yes, I would like to raise more money. But what’s the most important thing to me is increasing our impact. How do we find those people who need to know about Parkinson’s? Or find those people who think they’re alone dealing with PD? How do we find them, get them through the door and tell them they are not alone? It’s a question I’ve posed before on this blog.

Hit me up with your thoughts. I’m open to all ideas.

Son picks up dad’s quest to write book about Parkinson’s

I got an email at work the other day from a guy trying to promote a book he and his father did about Parkinson’s. It’s kinda cool that it came to me, though I’m not sure if it was a mass emailing or I was singled out.

Either way, I thought I’d share it with you.

Mike Oltersdorf is a Paul McCartney lookalike who has Parkinson’s. He uses Beatles’ music to inspire others who are struggling. He wanted to write a book in 2008, but his progression made that difficult. That’s when his son, Mike, stepped in.

“These lessons from my dad are all about leaving a legacy, so it’s actually very fitting that I am able to step in and continue to share the lessons my dad has instilled in me and used to inspire many others,” Dan said. (Sound like anyone you know? Cough cough Em, me, and all our Team Fox kiddos.)

Mike says:

“I have Parkinson’s so that’s kind of my broken wings, but everybody here has a broken wings story. It’s one of those things that if we can help each other take our broken wings and learn to fly, we can make a change.”

Here’s a three-minute clip about the book “The New Norm” and information if anyone is interested.

Where are you going to give this season?

These were the only dolls left and there are weeks to go to fill Toys for Tots orders in central Florida.
These were the only dolls left and there are weeks to go to fill Toys for Tots orders in central Florida.

As a journalist, I often find myself in the tough situation of deciding what causes and stories are more important — especially during the holiday season.

There are requests everywhere for donations and help — from Toys for Tots, to my work Christmas Emergency Fund, United Way, food banks, even the Michael J Fox Foundation and so many more. Everyone has causes near and dear to their hearts, and it’s hard every day — but even more so during the holidays — to find the time and money to help out as much as you can.

As an editor, there are a lot of stories that we just don’t have the time or resources to tell. I was truly reminded of that this past week visiting home.

Dad is obviously really involved in a lot of efforts around Winter Haven, not just Parkinson’s research and awareness. He and Emily have often volunteered time and money to the local Toys for Tots. While at home, Dad and I swung by the local Toys for Tots location to see what the Lake Ashton community should do with the $2,000 it raised for them. The site was almost unbearable.

Continue reading Where are you going to give this season?