Westport Optimism Walk will be dedicated to the memory of Mary Barnhart

WESTPORT, CT, September 12, 2023: The American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA) Connecticut Chapter is pleased to announce that the annual Westport Optimism Walk will be dedicated to the memory of Mary Barnhart.

The APDA Westport Optimism Walk is the largest Parkinson’s event in Connecticut and is a family-friendly fundraising event that offers a short walk and an opportunity for friends, families, care partners, and educators to come together with the common goal of connecting, sharing resources, and helping put an end to Parkinson’s disease (PD). 

Local participants can look forward to a wonderful and inspiring day at Sherwood Island State Park, a beautiful and accessible park (restrooms available). There will be refreshments, music, family-friendly activities, educational information, giveaways, and much more. Funds raised enable APDA to provide information, education, and support to those impacted by PD and fund scientific research into the causes, prevention, treatments and ultimately the cure. For more information about the Optimism Walk as well as the programs and services provided by the APDA Connecticut Chapter, please visit: www.apdaparkinson.org/connecticut.

This year, the official honoree (in memoriam) of the APDA Westport Optimism Walk is Mary Barnhart, a longtime resident of Hamden, CT. Mary passed away recently after supporting the APDA Connecticut Chapter for many years. Mary faced her PD diagnosis with a fighting spirit, a sense of humor, and support from friends and family. Spurred by her diagnosis, she traveled more and embraced activities that would help her manage her condition — boxing, dance classes, walks, educational symposia, and other events sponsored by the APDA. It was by participating in these programs that her daughter, Jennifer Barnhart, was inspired to do more.

Jennifer volunteered her time with the APDA, and she was subsequently nominated for, then elected to, the APDA Connecticut Chapter’s Board of Directors in 2020. For the past eight years, Mary and Jen have been involved in many programs and have fundraised to support APDA’s mission. “Mary's optimism was contagious and touched the lives of many around her,” states Bill Patjane, Regional Director, APDA. “Walking together with the local Parkinson’s community, alongside Jennifer Barnhart and her family, will be such a fitting tribute to Mary, who did so much for us all

Corporate partners Amneal Pharmaceuticals and Avion Pharmaceuticals are supporting the entire series as National Sponsors of the 2023 Optimism Walk events. Representatives will be on hand to meet members of the PD community and demonstrate their special commitment to helping people with PD, families, and care partners as they work tirelessly to bring innovative solutions to those living with this disease. The generous support of these sponsors is critical to the success of our mission.

For information on the APDA Westport Optimism Walk on September 30, please visit www.apdaparkinson.org/CT.

Submitted by Westport, CT

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