Don and Diana Tallman lead a Parkinson Canada SuperWalk group from Boxing 4 Health
Don and Diana Tallman lead a Parkinson Canada SuperWalk group from Boxing 4 Health.

SuperWalk 2021 Wraps Up – Spotlight on Boxing 4 Health’s Innovative Fundraising Initiatives

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SuperWalk was another runaway success, thanks to the participation and enthusiasm of a Canada-wide community that walked their way. The efforts of people like you make new projects possible, from initiatives such as the Parkinson Canada Advocacy Roundtables to the Canadian edition of the Every Victory Counts® manual to the ongoing development of a health app to funding critical Parkinson’s research.

The participation, enthusiasm and creativity of participants, volunteers, and teams across the country led to SuperWalk raising $1.3 million. Congratulations to you all!

The Ottawa based Boxing 4 Health team demonstrated incredible team spirit and creativity in their fundraising efforts. This growing crew of 29 individuals and two corporate sponsors raised over $90,000 by thinking ‘outside of the box’ and reaching out to local businesses in the community.

We chatted with Don and Diana Tallman, part of Boxing 4 Health’s nine-person fundraising committee, about the team’s fundraising initiatives and the personal connection it helped them make to the Parkinson community.

Don was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in . At that time, his doctor recommended boxing, so three days after being diagnosed, Don joined his first class with Diana. They did their first SuperWalk just five weeks later. The couple were and are very physically active, so the challenging workouts were appealing. They soon learned that the benefits of Boxing 4 Health went far beyond fitness.

“One of the things about Boxing 4 Health is that it’s more than a gym — it’s a community,” says Don. “It’s not competitive like a typical gym; everyone comes together as a group to encourage each other, whatever level they are at with their Parkinson’s. People are motivated by each other.”

The Boxing 4 Health team performs group stretches in preparation for Parkinson Canada SuperWalk.

Diana notes that members connect outside of the gym also. “It’s become very social. We celebrate birthdays and other milestones. When Don was diagnosed, we didn’t know anybody with Parkinson’s. Now, many of our new friends also live with it.”

Don and Diana also began fundraising for the SuperWalk shortly after Don’s diagnosis, joining the fundraising team, which has grown year by year.

“Our committee started talking about different fundraising initiatives, and it’s worked well,” says Diana.

This year, the team expanded its efforts to include reaching out to some of the local businesses in Ottawa and the surrounding areas, such as Kemptville, Ontario, where Don and Diana live.

“We connected with organizations like Popeye’s Supplements and the Natural Food Pantry in Ottawa, and they joined the team. They liked it because it’s an opportunity to talk to people about Parkinson’s in the stores, and when you do, you realize that almost everybody has been affected by Parkinson’s in some way.”

The team also did little fundraisers involving the sale of Pi Co. pizza gift cards and YOW Popcorn Co. Brewed Awakenings, Kemptville had a $2.00 Coffee Day and donated 100 per cent of the proceeds towards the SuperWalk.

“We also had mason jars that we put in different businesses in support of the SuperWalk. That is a simple way to get the word out about Parkinson’s, and every donation was appreciated. Businesses were happy to help spread the word and we were very thankful for all who helped us,” says Diana.

At the Boxing 4 Health gym, three instructors offered different fundraising events in support of SuperWalk.

“One of the instructors hosted a Latin dancing class, another instructor taught an Intro to Power Moves and a boxing class, and the third instructor did a Move for PD class in which the class attempted to do 100,000 kicks and punches to represent the 100,000 people living with Parkinson’s in Canada,” says Don. “All three classes were lots of fun and gave people an opportunity that didn’t attend the gym to try them out.”

Don and Diana raised $30,000 this year, exceeding their goal of $25,000, despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic. Don and Diana are grateful to their family, friends, and colleagues for their ongoing support.

“It’s a privilege to be a part of the Boxing 4 Health SuperWalk Team and we are especially thankful for finding the Boxing 4 Health Gym in Ottawa. This connection has enriched our lives so much,” says Don.

The couple also appreciated the coordinating efforts of Parkinson Canada’s Events Assistant, Alejandro Alas in relation to their SuperWalk fundraising. Don and Diana have signed up for Parkinson Canada webinars and Diana has attended a caregiver support group, both of which were helpful and informative.

The money raised by Don, Diana and the whole Boxing 4 Health team will go towards projects that will make a difference in the lives of people living with Parkinson’s and their care partners. We thank them and SuperWalkers across Canada for the hope and progress your efforts represent in and beyond.

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