Tuesday 02 October 2012
It’s official! The first ever European Unity Walk was a complete success as more than 1,000 people from over 25 countries around the world danced and cheered through the centre of Amsterdam.
And it wasn't just the EPDA and Parkinson Vereniging members and friends who were in attendance on 28 September either. Due to a flurry of media activity before the event, the press were interested enough to make an appearance and they, in turn, inspired members of the general public to come and find out what all the fuss was about too.
“Each and every participant helped the EPDA make history last week by walking gently through the wonderful city of Amsterdam,” said proud EPDA president Knut-Johan Onarheim. “When we first came up with the idea of a European Unity Walk, we thought we’d be pleased with 500 walkers. To double that number is a wonderful achievement for us all. There is no doubt about it: the Parkinson’s community moved together.
“The EPDA thanks everyone who supported us on the day. Each of you have helped send a powerful message to the public, press and policymakers: that people living with this progressive, chronic and complex neurodegenerative disease should be treated effectively and equally throughout Europe.
“A special thank you must also go to our Dutch friends from Parkinson Vereniging and their own members who joined us in force. Parkinson Vereniging were with us every step of the way since the very first European Unity Walk conversations took place – we couldn't have done it without them.”
The 2012 Amsterdam event was the first European Unity Walk but Knut-Johan promised that it would be the first of many.
“We hope this success will inspire other European Parkinson’s disease organisations to adopt this event and launch their own similar initiatives in the years to come,” he said. “We hope that in the future thousands of people will come together on the same day each year to take part in regional events similar to this one – always working together to raise awareness about Parkinson’s disease and its effects. So please continue spreading the word about the European Unity Walk: even though the 2012 event has finished, each and every one of us must keep our message alive and well until the next one.”
If you would like to enquire about how your country could launch its own Unity Walk, please contact the EPDA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you have photos or stories you’d like to share about the 2012 European Unity Walk, don’t forget to view the gallery page where you’ll find details of how to get involved.