The Regions Tradition is a PGA TOUR Champions major, held annually in Birmingham. While the 2020 Tradition was cancelled due to COVID-19, the giving continues. This year, a record $1.2 million was raised for charities. Today, we profile one of the nonprofits impacted by the record giving.
Since 1978, Parkinson Association of Alabama has focused on improving the lives of patients, families and caregivers affected by Parkinson’s disease, while supporting research that will lead to new and improved treatments.
In the 42 years since it was established, the nonprofit has never seen anything like 2020.
“Just like everyone, we’ve been affected by the pandemic,” said Bibby Bailey, executive director of Parkinson Association of Alabama. “It’s impacted our clients, who are already at risk. It’s affected our donors, who may have to worry about when their next paycheck will come.”
Taste For A Cure is the organization’s largest fundraiser. Offering participants the chance to sample meals from restaurants across the town, it normally draws wide support. But with a pandemic raging, staging the event in person was an impossibility.
So, Bailey and her team went to work.
“We had 450 attendees in-person in 2019, and had a record year,” Bailey said. “So, we gathered our executive board and pitched a new plan for a virtual event.”
Using an auctioneer to lead a live auction on Facebook, the virtual event proved to be an overwhelming success, so much so that nearly all of the sponsors, even after being offered a graceful exit due to the circumstances, stayed on board with donations.
It shows the community’s commitment to fighting Parkinson’s disease.
The next step was reinventing the annual symposium – which features 200 people discussing the latest breakthroughs in Parkinson’s disease treatment – into a virtual webinar focused on providing information on pharmaceuticals, deep-brain stimulation, treatment, financial planning, caregiving and support.
That’s led to a calendar of events scheduled well into 2021, providing resources and up-to-date news for 21 support groups throughout the state.
Through good times and bad, Parkinson Association of Alabama provides a lifeline for patients and families, a network of providers, and the unique Rock Steady Boxing program. The latter offers a chance to fight back against the disease – literally – in one of more than 800 Rock Steady Boxing programs across the globe.
Keeping the programs, support and research moving forward remains the primary task.
“We’ve seen a decline in our contributions and from our donors,” Bailey said, “some of whom have lost their jobs. That’s why this support from the Regions Tradition is invaluable. It will help sustain us and move us forward, helping our clients and continuing our scholarship programs.”