Katie Couric Is Honorary National Chair Of National Parkinson Foundation's Moving Day

Release date: 8/15/2011

—New Fundraising Walk Launching in 13 Cities—

MIAMI—August 15, 2011—Katie Couric has agreed to be the honorary national chair of the National Parkinson Foundation's (NPF) inaugural Moving Day campaign. Moving Day is the first grassroots campaign to spotlight Parkinson's disease (PD) awareness on a national level. The importance of good care for people with Parkinson's is near and dear to Ms. Couric—her father, John Couric, 90, died recently from complications due to Parkinson's disease.

"Parkinson's is a challenging and often debilitating disease that robs too many people of their ability to lead a full life. I watched in awe as my father bravely battled this disease and know that he greatly benefited from care, which significantly minimized his symptoms by addressing all aspects of his well being," says Katie Couric, honorary national chair of Moving Day.  "Every individual coping with this disease should have the same quality care my Dad did, and that's why the work of the NPF is so critically important. Its three-pronged mission of research, education, and outreach will help countless people suffering from Parkinson's today and will develop better treatments for the scores who will be diagnosed in the future. I am proud to be a part of this mission and in doing so, honor my wonderful father, who was a true profile in courage as he soldiered on every day to remain an active and vibrant part of the family he so loved."

Moving Day is a new campaign to raise awareness and funds through annual fundraising walks. Each walk will feature a "Movement Pavilion," with stations such as yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, dance and much more.  Studies show that movement is beneficial and proven to help manage the symptoms of Parkinson's disease, improving flexibility and mobility.  Even vigorous exercise such as biking and running has been shown to potentially slow down or delay progression.   NPF is rolling out this fun-filled, family-friendly event to cities across the country, including the three pilot walks in 2011: Oct. 1 in Pittsburgh; Oct. 16 in Washington, D.C.; and Oct. 22 in Rome, GA. New Moving Day events are planned for 2012: Minneapolis, Kansas City, Chicago, Sacramento, Sioux Falls, SD, Tallahassee, Miami and Boca Raton, FL, Cedartown and Augusta, GA.

"We are delighted that Katie Couric is serving as the honorary national chair of Moving Day to raise awareness of Parkinson's disease, and to highlight NPF's focus on improving the quality of Parkinson's care for every person diagnosed with this disease," states NPF President and CEO Joyce Oberdorf.  "With her help, we are better able to reach people of all ages and abilities about the role that movement and exercise plays in managing symptoms and in keeping people with PD healthy."

Moving Day raises awareness of Parkinson's both nationally and in the communities where NPF chapters are participating in this campaign. All proceeds raised from the campaign go to support local services for people living with the disease and research leading to better treatments.

To learn more about Moving Day and how you, your family and friends, and/or your company can get involved, please visit www.npfmovingday.org.   Moving Day is made possible, in part, through the generous support of national sponsors, including Champion Sponsors Dick's Sporting Goods, Medtronic and Right at Home, and Hope Sponsor Office Depot Foundation.  Additional national and local sponsorship opportunities are available.  Please call 1-800-4PD-INFO to learn more.

A long-time advocate for cancer research and other health-related issues, Parkinson's disease joins the list of causes Ms. Couric publicly supports. In 2000, Ms. Couric launched the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance in association with the Entertainment Industry Foundation and Lilly Tartikoff, to fund new medical research in colorectal cancer. Following Ms. Couric's on-air colonoscopy in 2000, a scientifically documented 20% increase in the number of colonoscopies performed across the country was dubbed "The Couric Effect" by researchers at the University of Michigan. In May 2008, Ms. Couric and her other network news counterparts participated in Stand Up To Cancer, an unprecedented effort that culminated in a one-hour, commercial-free, primetime program on ABC, CBS and NBC in Fall 2008.

About Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative brain disorder that progresses slowly in most people with PD. When approximately 60 to 80 percent of the dopamine-producing cells in the brain are damaged, and do not produce enough dopamine, the motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease appear. In the United States, 60,000 new cases are diagnosed each year, adding to the one million people who have Parkinson's disease.  It is estimated that four to six million people around the world have Parkinson's.

About The National Parkinson Foundation
NPF has a singular focus on improving the quality of care in Parkinson's disease.  NPF programs reach more than one million people a year through its network of 39 chapters, 43 Centers of Excellence and 900 support groups.  Since 1982, NPF has funded more than $155 million in care, research and support services.  For more information about the National Parkinson Foundation and the Moving Day event, please visit www.parkinson.org or call toll-free 1-800-4PD-INFO.