After discovering there wasn’t a large-scale Parkinson’s disease (PD) fundraiser in Northern Iowa, Geri Berding, who is living with PD, joined Team Fox and founded the Shake, Rattle, and Stroll for Parkinson’s 5K Run/Walk in 2016.
Just two years later, following their father Todd’s PD diagnosis, the Forsyth family started attending. After deciding to step down as event host and organizer in 2020, Geri reached out to Todd to see if his family would be interested in taking over. Agreeing that it would be a meaningful way to connect even further with the PD community, the Forsyth family officially took over the following year.
Todd's entire family plays a specific role in the event – his daughter Kelsey is the organizer; his son Trey assists with all things digital; and his wife Lisa and daughter Riley help with day-of logistics. “Running the event is a lot of work, but it’s always very worth it because of how happy everyone is to be together. It’s not a fun reason to be together, but it’s a very inspiring day,” says Kelsey Uetz.
When they first attended in 2018, they created Team Todd as a surprise for their dad. Upon taking over the event three years later, they formally implemented teams as a way for participants to get more involved. “To me, it seems like what people enjoy most about the event is the ability to come together as part of a team in support or in memory of someone with PD,” says Trey Forsyth.
To expand the event even further, the Forsyth’s have focused on making it a fun, inspirational and family-oriented day. They have implemented an Honor Wall to recognize and memorialize those with PD and the wall continues to grow each year. They also support and promote local businesses and organizations by offering raffle prizes to their participants.
“The most surprising and rewarding aspect for me is seeing people come from all across Iowa to participate. It really does build a sense of community,” says Trey. “And it certainly has raised our awareness to how many people are affected by PD and how every story is unique.”
The Forsyth family has continued to donate proceeds from the event to The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF). “The way that Team Fox shows us support continues to drive us to have a partnership,” says Kelsey. “Donating funds to research gives us all hope and something to look forward to,” says Trey. “As more treatments become available, we can see the impact of our work firsthand.” Since its inception, the event has raised over $80,000 for MJFF.
On May 20, the eighth annual Shake, Rattle, and Stroll 5K at City Park in Clear Lake, Iowa will bring together friends and family for a friendly competition to advance education, research and patient support for Parkinson’s disease. Learn more and register here.