Moving Day Miami Fundraising Walk To Raise Awareness Of Parkinson's Disease
Miami's legal community will be walking together Sunday at Bayfront Park to raise awareness for Parkinson's disease — and show support for former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno.
Reno, Miami-Dade's former top prosecutor, will serve as honorary chair of the Moving Day Miami event. Diagnosed with the disease in 1995, Reno is expected to attend the event in her wheelchair, accompanied by family members and her niece, model Hunter Reno.
Moving Day Miami was started last year to raise awareness and funds for Parkinson's disease. More than 1,000 people attended the inaugural event, raising $150,000. In addition to the fundraising walk, the event features yoga, dance, pilates, tai chi and other forms of movement.
Parkinson's is a degenerative disorder that is estimated to affect 4 to 6 million people around the world. There are a number of treatments but no known cure. While the disease disproportionately affects seniors, younger people also contract the disease — perhaps the most well-known being actor Michael J. Fox.
Among those participating in the walk are U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer; Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle; John Kozyak of Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton; Richard Alhadeff, former name partner at Stearns, Weaver, Miller, Alhadeff & Sitterson; and Carlton Fields partner Steven Brodie. Akerman Senterfitt, Holland & Knight and Greenberg Traurig also have organized teams.
Kozyak, who has organized a team of 100 people, is the top fundraiser to date, raising about $25,000. Kozyak, who sits on the board of the National Parkinson Foundation, said he was motivated to get involved after both his parents were diagnosed with the disease. He is also a longtime friend of Reno's.
Kozyak's mother will be flying in from St. Louis to walk with his team. His father is too ill to participate. Kozyak's team has raised $25,000 for the walk so far.
"Janet Reno gave my mother her cellphone number when she was attorney general," Kozyak recalls. "She reached out to my mother to offer her support."
Ferrer said is not allowed to set up a team at the U.S. attorney's office but signed up and raised money on his own. He said current and former federal prosecutors, including Holland & Knight litigation chair John Hogan, also will be participating.
Ferrer served as counsel and deputy chief of staff to Reno when she was attorney general and began working for her in 1995, the year she was diagnosed. His grandmother also suffered from the disease.