Rock, Roll ‘n’ Running for Parkinson’s: Q&A with Dr. Karen Ring

Karen Ring, Ph.D., of San Francisco, CA, is going the distance for Parkinson’s. On Sunday, March 26, she will run the United Airlines Rock ‘n’ Roll San Francisco Half Marathon to raise funds for the Parkinson’s Foundation.

She’s already surpassed her fundraising goal, raising more than $1,500 in honor of her Dad. Hear why Dr. Ring joined our Champions team and learn how you can get involved.

Q: How has your life been touched by Parkinson’s disease?

I have been an advocate for Parkinson’s since high school after my Dad was diagnosed with the disease. He was a scientist and had to retire early after his symptoms progressed. My Dad has always kept a very positive outlook on life. His strength and motivation to continue living to the fullest inspired me to get a doctorate in biomedical science to better understand how and why diseases like Parkinson’s occur. I am now pursuing a career in science communications at the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM).

Q: What inspired you to become a Champion? What do you hope to accomplish?

I enjoy long distance running, so when I found out about the Foundation’s Champions program, I was inspired to join the run team.

I want to raise funds for research for others living with Parkinson’s, like my Dad, who can no longer run long distances. I also want to raise awareness by promoting my fundraising campaign to friends, family and the Bay Area community.

Lastly, I hope to inspire others to support research and to attend other Parkinson’s events with me, such as the Foundation’s Moving Day® walks. In my experience, when a loved one is first diagnosed with Parkinson’s, it can feel like a death sentence. What I’ve learned watching my Dad is that it’s not. Getting involved with organizations like the Parkinson’s Foundation and finding a support system is essential to living a fulfilled life.

Q: Do you have tips for others thinking about running for Parkinson’s?

This is my first time running as a Champion. All it took was a simple email requesting to join the team. I was a little nervous at first, but after I setup my fundraising webpage and started planning, I’m now really excited!

My advice is to have a gameplan for fundraising and for training. For example:

  • I’m hosting two other fundraising events for the Foundation as part of my efforts, including one at a local bar in the city and a smaller event at my house.
  • For training, it’s always easier to stay on track when you have a buddy! I found other friends who are running the half marathon and have been training with them on the weekends.

Lastly, I would say to remember that being on this team is a wonderful opportunity to help people with Parkinson’s and their families. If you’re ever worried about running 13.1 miles, reminding yourself why you are on the team gives you great perspective!

Are you interested in joining our run team? We’re excited to offer spots in this year’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series! The series includes 20 races across the US. Whether you’re just starting out or an avid runner, there’s a distance for everyone.  Email us today to find out more.

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