Western Slope welcomes first PAR 5K Vitality Walk in El Jebel
The Western Slope is gearing up for its inaugural Parkinson Association of the Rockies (PAR) 5K Vitality Walk on Sept. 23. The fundraiser, which has been an annual Denver fixture for over two decades, will take place at Crown Mountain Park in El Jebel, 501 Eagle County Dr.
The Denver Vitality Walk has a 21-year legacy, and has been a significant contributor to the fundraising efforts of PAR, often collecting over $150,000. The funds play an instrumental role in supporting the Parkinson’s community in Colorado.
Locally, the association backs various initiatives, including Power Punch for Parkinson’s classes and support groups located in Carbondale, Glenwood and New Castle. Additionally, they facilitate educational speaker sessions in the region multiple times a year. All proceeds from the Vitality Walk will funnel directly into these programs and services.
Generous sponsors, such as Alpine Bank and the Delaney Foundation, have come forward to back this cause. The Delaney Foundation was established in memory of Bob and Connie Delaney, both of whom faced the challenges of Parkinson’s disease until their passing.
The event already boasts a promising turnout, with 85 participants registered for the walk.
Interested parties will find the registration process straightforward. They can sign up individually, merge with an existing team, or even form their own group. What stands out is the absence of a registration fee, paving the way for participants to focus on fundraising.
Behind this event’s vision is Suzanne Stewart, who received her Parkinson’s diagnosis in March 2020.
“I got really into researching what Parkinson’s was about and what it meant and what you had to do to slow the progression of this disease,” Stewart said. “Like many of the diseases we have in our world is to exercise.”
Following her diagnosis, Stewart’s extensive research led her to participate in PAR’s vitality walk in Denver.
“In 2020, I went to the walk they held in Denver. In the middle of the event, I think to myself, ‘Why can’t we bring this to the western slope?'” Stewart said.
“Parkinson’s is a diagnosis that isn’t easy for anyone,” she added. “We are just trying to do whatever we can to not only spread awareness but to also try our best to do whatever we can to put an end to this disease.”
Her optimism for the upcoming event is palpable.
“I’m really excited to see the success of this event and see the community come together for such a great cause,” Stewart said. “A lot of hard work went into putting this event together and I can’t wait to see the outcome.”
For those looking to participate in the walk, online registration is available at http://www.parkinsonrockies.org/vitality.
If you go…
What: Parkinson Association of the Rockies 5K Vitality Walk
When: 10 a.m., Sept. 23
Where: Crown Mountain Park, 501 Eagle County Dr., El Jebel
How much: Free
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