Meet Lea, Age 13, Designer of the 2016 Parkinson’s Awareness T-Shirt

Lea DempseyLea Dempsey, 13, of Princeton, NJ, has a knack for drawing, which she credits to her late grandfather, an avid painter who lived with Parkinson’s disease for more than a decade.

When the seventh grader stumbled upon PDF’s Kids Only T-Shirt Design Contest a few months back, she knew it was the perfect way to honor his memory.  Earlier this month, the public voted her design, “Join the Team Ending Parkinson’s,” to be printed on PDF’s 2016 Awareness T-shirts that will be worn by hundreds of people across the country.

What’s the story behind Lea’s design? PDF recently interviewed Lea and her family to find out.

“It is important to me to raise awareness about Parkinson’s because my grandfather lived with this disease and I saw how it impacted our family,” says Lea. “My grandfather was a very artistic man and I got my inspiration from him. I think he would be proud. This is the first time I’m putting my art out there and I’m proud to see my design help raise awareness of Parkinson’s disease.”

2016 PD Awareness T-ShirtAfter finding the PDF contest, Lea got to work with a tablet and a stylus, digitally creating two hands bound together with PDF’s signature yellow tulip in the middle. She says her design represents, “never giving up, no matter what. The flower is holding the people together to show how they’re staying together and fighting for the Parkinson’s cause.”

Her design was one of 20 submitted to PDF from children ages five to 15-years-old. After being chosen as one of five finalists, it was voted as the winning design for the 2016 Parkinson’s Awareness T-Shirt.

What does her family think of Lea using her creativity for the Parkinson’s cause?

“Lea grew up watching her grandfather’s Parkinson’s progress, and like the rest of us, there were times she felt powerless to help him. She was the one person who always had the ability to make him smile. Knowing that Lea has contributed to PDF’s efforts to help other people who bear the weight of Parkinson’s has not only uplifted her, it has uplifted the entire Dempsey family,” adds Lea’s mother, Kathleen Pagnutti.

Lea also shared a special message to other kids impacted by Parkinson’s who want to make a difference.

“Everyone can help spread the word about Parkinson’s or take on different activities with PDF for the cause. If they see this design contest, they can tell other people and enter their own design. Or they can buy this awareness shirt and wear it around!”

PDF congratulates Lea and all participants of this year’s Kids Only T-Shirt Design Contest for sharing their inspiring designs. The contest illustrates that everyone, no matter their age, is an important part of PDF’s team ending Parkinson’s disease.

Order your t-shirt, designed by Lea, from PDF’s online store here.

(T-Shirts are available in child and adult sizes.)

Do you want to join the team ending Parkinson’s this April for Parkinson’s Awareness Month? Visit our website to learn more.

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