The third annual American Parkinson Disease Association Walk-a-thon is coming to Santa Monicaís Palisades Park, at the corner of Ocean Avenue and Colorado Avenue, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, April 28th.

April 28th has been officially declared Parkinsonís Disease Awareness Day in Los Angeles by the Los Angeles City Council.

Registration for the Walk-a-thon begins at 9 a.m. and Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom is scheduled to kick off the event.

Over 500 people with Parkinsonís disease, their caregivers, family members, friends and pets will be walking to raise money for the fight against the disease.

One hundred percent of the money raised will go toward research for the disease, according to organizers.

Actors Brian Austin Green of Beverly Hills 90210 and his fiancÈe Megan Fox, star of the upcoming Transformers, are scheduled to demonstrate a Pilates Stick ó fitness equipment that may be helpful to those with Parkinsonís, organizers say.

Project Runway contestant/ fashion designer Nick Verreos and GUESS design director Alejandro Blanco are also expected to be there.

In addition, there will be the unveiling of what is said to be the first-ever national Parkinsonís quilt and the launch of a mobility device called the Dashaway, created by 90-year-old entrepreneur, inventor and Parkinsonian Stan Dashew, who is described as the ìpioneer of the modern credit card.î

Sponsors are The Walking Company, Dashaway Company, Medtronic and Valeant Pharmaceuticals.

The American Parkinson Disease Association, said to be the largest nonprofit grassroots organization for Parkinsonís disease in the U.S., is committed to easing the burden on patients, family members and caregivers affected by Parkinsonís while raising funds for medical research, education and outreach.

Parkinsonís affects close to two million people and an additional 70,000 people are newly diagnosed with Parkinsonís each year.

The American Parkinson Disease Association West Coast Office addresses the needs and concerns of the Parkinsonís community throughout the Western United States.

Parkinsonís disease is a progressive disorder of the central nervous system. Clinically, the disease is characterized by a decrease in spontaneous movements, gait difficulty, postural instability, rigidity and tremor.

Parkinsonís disease is caused by the degeneration of the pigmented neurons in the substantia nigra of the brain, resulting in decreased dopamine availability, according to the association.

The major symptoms of the disease were originally described in 1817 by an English physician, Dr. James Parkinson, who called it ìShaking Palsy.î

Only in the 1960s, however, were pathological and biochemical changes in the brain of patients identified, opening the way for the first effective medication for the disease.

Early symptoms can include weakness, fatigue and a slight tremor in the hands or feet. These symptoms generally occur on one side of the body and stay this way for some time. Later, they can progress into a near-total loss of movement.

Specific symptoms and the rate at which they progress vary from person to person.

While the frequency of the disease is considerably higher in people over age 50, there is an alarming increase in patients being diagnosed with the disease in their 30s and 40s.

Famous people with Parkinsonís disease include Michael J. Fox, Earth, Wind & Fireís lead singer Maurice White, Rev. Billy Graham, Pope John Paul II, Janet Reno and Muhammad Ali.

Information on the Walk-a-thon, (800) 908-2732.

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