Skate-a-thon to raise funds for Parkinson's research

by Tom O’Connor, UNMC public relations | January 03, 2011

On Jan. 28-29, the medical center will host the first UNMC Skate-a-thon for Parkinson's Disease at the campus ice rink.

Skaters will circle the ice for 24 straight hours to raise money for Parkinson's research.

Skate-a-thon facts

Cost: $10 per skater. Skate rental is free and there is no charge to skate as long as participants are raising money through pledges.

Registration: Register online or make pledges at www.phdomaha.org or by e-mail at info@phdomaha.org, or by fax at 402-934-6074. Walk-in registration also will be available at the event.

Vital support: Proceeds will support:

  • Dr. Bertoni's clinical research;
  • Basic research by Howard Gendelman, M.D., chairman of the department of pharmacology and experimental neuroscience;
  • The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research; and
  • The PHD Program (Parkinson's Health Development), a local program that offers affordable exercises and activities to improve the quality of life for persons with Parkinson's.

Skating begins at 6 p.m. on Jan. 28 and concludes a full day later. The event is open to the public.

Individual skaters can skate as long as they wish. Non-skaters are encouraged to come and enjoy the festivities and show their support.

"We can handle up to 125 people on the ice at any time, but there also is plenty of room for spectators," said Keith Swarts, director of business services. "We're hoping to literally get thousands of people to join us for this event."

The skate-a-thon is the idea of Omaha's Ted and Colleen Wuebben, who have hosted their own skate-a-thon the past three years by flooding their back yard. Colleen was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2005 at the age of 52. Her physician, John Bertoni, M.D., is a professor in the UNMC Department of Neurological Sciences.

"We had more than 300 skaters participate last year and raised $10,000," said Ted Wuebben, a financial advisor for Campbell Insurance Group and a former basketball star at Creighton University. "As word has gotten out, the event has been getting bigger every year."

UNMC students, faculty and staff are encouraged to participate in the skate-a-thon and Swarts encourages campus units and departments to challenge each other to see who can raise the most money.

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