CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Runners and advocates alike will take part in the annual Fox Trot for Parkinson’s Research on Saturday to raise funds directed at better understanding Parkinson’s disease.
The annual 5K and walk began in 2012 as an effort to connect people with Parkinson’s disease, a disease impacting the nervous system that limits one’s movements. There is not a known cause for Parkinson’s disease, and scientists have not discovered a cure.
Lead organizer George Manahan did not know anyone with Parkinson’s disease when he started the Fox Trot.
“The first race had about 200 people, and people would always come up to me and say, ‘Hey, I have what you have.’ They couldn’t even say the word Parkinson’s,” he said.
The first event led to the creation of a support group and clubs for people with Parkinson’s disease. The effort has also raised more than $500,000 for research efforts over the last decade.
The Fox Trot would normally benefit the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, but this year’s proceeds will go toward West Virginia University as it develops a registry of West Virginians with Parkinson’s disease. There is not an official number for how many West Virginians have the disease.
“We’ll finally know how many people have Parkinson’s disease,” Manahan said.
Registration will begin at 7:30 a.m. at Charleston’s Capitol Market with the race to begin around 9 a.m. Organizers are offering a virtual option for people unable to attend Saturday’s event in person.