The American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA) Gears Up For 2021 National Optimism Walk Series

APDA is the largest grassroots network serving people with PD and their families. The more funds we raise at each Optimism Walk, the more people we can help every day. — Leslie Chambers, President & CEO

The American Parkinson’s Disease Association (APDA) officially announces the start of the 2021 APDA Optimism Walk season, kicking off with three virtual Walks on May 22, 2021. Due to the success of the 2020 virtual Walks, the Optimism Walks will remain virtual for springtime events. The remainder of the Walk season is scheduled to take place in person throughout the fall, with full adherence to all public health guidelines and safety measures.

What is an Optimism Walk? The Optimism Walks are APDA’s signature fundraising event series and a nationwide movement to mobilize and inspire people to step up and help put an end to Parkinson’s disease (PD). Whether in-person or online, the Optimism Walks bring thousands of participants together to support APDA’s mission to help every person impacted by PD live life to the fullest. With one million people living with PD in the United States and more being diagnosed every day, it is more important than ever to raise essential funds and awareness. Whether participating virtually or in-person, each and every participant is helping to make a difference for those living with the disease today and to push for answers that will ultimately make PD a thing of the past.

“This past year has been difficult in so many ways, especially for the Parkinson’s disease community who were already dealing with the challenges of life with PD,” states Leslie A. Chambers, President and CEO, APDA. “But there have been bright spots as well, one of those being our virtual Optimism Walks which enable us to come together in a safe way, and also expand to a much wider audience thanks to the virtual nature of the events.”

Three fun ways to get involved:

1. Be a virtual walker: Register today for one of the three virtual Optimism Walks taking place on May 22: the Massachusetts Optimism Walk, the Northwest Optimism Walk, and the Virginia Optimism Walk. Participants do not need to live in or near one of these states to participate – anyone can join from anywhere!

We watch…then walk. Participants in all three Walks come together online for a fun and festive virtual Opening Ceremony & Celebration, and then everyone heads out to walk safely in their own neighborhoods. Participants will be encouraged walk on their own and share photos and comments using #OptimismWalk so together they can still be uplifted by a great sense of community and camaraderie. Everyone will walk separately, but together in solidarity for the PD community.

2. Participate in-person: Twelve Optimism Walks will be taking place in person between August and October. “We miss seeing our PD community in person and we’re excited to reunite with them this fall,” states Chambers. “We take safety seriously, so we’ll be following all recommended guidelines and protocols. But even if the Walks look a little different, we know that the energy and enthusiasm of each Optimism Walk will be there!” Dates and online registration are being finalized now and will be posted as available.

3. Donate to an Optimism Walk: Those who cannot participate can still get involved by making a donation to an Optimism Walk. Funds raised will help provide local programs and services in the area where each Walk is held, and also support nationwide programs and research. Donations to individual walkers, or to the Walk itself are most welcome. Donors can select the Walk they want to support (and either search for a participant to donate to or make a general donation to the event.)

Chambers states, “access to the right information and support is key to living your best life, and that’s true for the person living with PD as well as care partners, friends and family. APDA is the largest grassroots network serving people with PD and their families. The more funds we raise at each Optimism Walk, the more people we can help every day.”

The funds raised help APDA provide much-needed support groups and exercise classes designed specifically for people with PD, which includes a wide array of virtual programming APDA has adapted and created to keep people supported, engaged and informed while they’ve needed to stay at home.

Corporate partners Amneal Pharmaceuticals, Lundbeck and Sunovion Pharmaceuticals have joined once again as National Sponsors of the full Optimism Walk 2021 event series. Representatives from these companies will participate in the virtual Optimism Walks and also be on hand at many of the in-person events 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. Their generous support is critical to the success of our mission.

For a full list of events and dates, visit the Optimism Walk section of the APDA website, and see list below.

May 22, 2021        

Massachusetts Optimism Walk            


May 22, 2021            

Northwest Optimism Walk


May 22, 2021            

Virginia Optimism Walk


August 28, 2021    

Atlanta Optimism Walk                            

Pernoshal Park, Dunwoody, GA

August 2021    

Oklahoma Optimism Walk

Venue to be determined

Fall 2021    

Wisconsin Optimism Walk    

Venue to be determined

Sept 11, 2021    

Midwest Optimism Walk

Naperville Riverwalk Park, Naperville, IL

Sept 18, 2021    

Rhode Island Optimism Walk

Goddard State Park, Warwick, RI

Sept 18, 2021    

Iowa Optimism Walk

Principal Park, Des Moines, IA

Sept 18, 2021    

Cape Cod Optimism Walk

Barnstable High School, Hyannis, MA

Sept 25, 2021    

Minnesota Optimism Walk

Roseville Central Park, Roseville, MN

Sept/Oct, 2021    

Long Island Optimism Walk

Venue to be determined

Oct 2021    

Connecticut Optimism Walk

Sherwood Island Park, Westport, CT

Oct 9, 2021    

Greater St. Louis Optimism Walk

Logan University, Chesterfield, MO

Oct 30, 2021    

South Florida Optimism Walk

Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park, Boca Raton, FL

*Dates and venues subject to change.

About the American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA):

The American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA) is the largest grassroots network dedicated to fighting Parkinson’s disease (PD) and works tirelessly to help the more than 1 million people in the US with PD live life to the fullest in the face of this chronic, neurological disorder. Founded in 1961, APDA has raised and invested more than $207 million to provide outstanding patient services and educational programs, elevate public awareness about the disease, and support research designed to unlock the mysteries of PD and ultimately put an end to this disease. To join us in the fight against Parkinson’s disease and to learn more about the support APDA provides nationally through our network of Chapters and Information & Referral (I&R) Centers, as well as our national Research Program and Centers for Advanced Research, please visit us at

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