Emily Walsh family portraitAs a daughter, caregiver, and Neuro Challenge Foundation for Parkinson’s Board Vice Chair, I would like to share the impact Neuro Challenge has had on my family as we walk our Parkinson’s journey alongside my mom.

Let me tell you about my mom.
My mom, Lisa, raised us to emulate her ways — work hard, be kind and give back. Always committed to serving her community and helping others, she mentored many young journalists as the Executive Editor of Observer Media Group and supported a multitude of non-profit organizations. We also did what we were told. We still do. When Lisa has a plan, you stick to the plan.

Until that plan was completely altered by Parkinson’s Disease (PD).
Rocked by my mom’s diagnosis, our family was unsure of what to do, what it meant or how to proceed. Completely uneducated about the disease, we found ourselves without a plan.

As fate would have it, I heard about a free program offered by Neuro Challenge – the Annual Parkinson’s Symposium. My father, Matt, and I were amazed when we joined over 500 attendees from the local Parkinson’s community, many of whom we already knew.

three ladies exercisingWe were astounded to learn that all Neuro Challenge programs and services are absolutely free — always available at no cost to people with Parkinson’s and their loved ones.

Our Neuro Challenge Care Advisor connected us to local resources, ongoing monthly education and therapeutic programs, support groups and shared a very important piece of advice: Exercise!

Inspired by this new information my sister Kate Walsh, a principal ballerina with the Sarasota Ballet, discovered a therapeutic movement program called Dance for PD and, with Neuro Challenge and the Sarasota Ballet, helped launch Joyful Movement Through Parkinson’s.

For nearly three years, I had a standing monthly date with my mom to dance. Those Tuesdays on my calendar were sacred. Not only because it gave me treasured one-on-one time with my mom, but it also allowed us to experience the real-life positive benefits for people with Parkinson’s and their caregivers available from Neuro Challenge. Today, we don’t dance regularly, but we calendar those dates to connect with each other and smile.

Emily Walsh, her mother and grandsonWhen you give to Neuro Challenge, you make an immediate positive impact for others on the Parkinson’s journey. The work of Neuro Challenge is possible because of generous donors — people just like you. Thanks to YOU, nearly 3,000 people with Parkinson’s and their loved ones receive the essential support they need each year — for free.

Our family has remained committed to Neuro Challenge over the years, from chairing the Cause 4 Hope Gala to the Observer Media Group continuing to be a leading sponsor for programs and events.

So, just like my mom, I would like to ask you to consider supporting the Parkinson’s community this spring. Your gift, no matter what size, will allow Neuro Challenge to continue ongoing monthly virtual and community-based programs, provide personal Care Advising at a time when many need guidance and support, and expand outreach to help families in communities with little or no resources.

Thank you for supporting the local Parkinson’s community with your generosity. Every donation makes a difference and helps those in your area who live each day with Parkinson’s disease.

And thank you for illuminating that one smile most important to me — my mom’s.

With sincere gratitude,
Emily Walsh
Daughter, Care Giver, Neuro Challenge Vice Chair and President, Observer Media Group



P.S. Give today and your donation will DOUBLE!
The Louis and Gloria Flanzer Philanthropic Trust will match your donation 1:1, up to the first $500 per household, per month! Make a one-time donation or give monthly — your qualifying donation will be DOUBLED!



Did you know? There are a variety of ways to leave a lasting impact at Neuro Challenge today! You can become a monthly donor, host a fundraiser, volunteer, and even join the NCF Legacy Society with a planned gift. Our development office is happy to help you match your impact to the best gift option. For more information, please consult your financial advisor or call Neuro Challenge at 941-926-6413.