PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Kicking off Saturday morning with a happy – and hoppy – 5K, runners laced up for the 4th annual Philly Rabbit Run at the Philadelphia Zoo.
“People should remember those who have a degenerative disease are still human,” said Phil Cohen, who participated.
More than 1,000 registered for the race, which helps raise awareness for Parkinson’s Disease.
Many, including Liz Falcone of Havertown, had a personal connection to the cause.
“It was important for me to get involved because my father died from Parkinson’s and he had it for 20 some years,” Falcone said. “There’s gotta be a cure because it’s affecting a lot of lives, and the family around them.”
That’s why Jodi Cianci, who has Parkinson’s herself, organizes the event each year through the non-profit Shake It Off.
“More people have Parkinson’s than ALS, MD, and MS combined,” Cianci said
And though there’s not yet a cure, Dr. Alice Chen-Plotkin of Penn Medicine, says there’s hope.
“You can’t slow it down, and that’s the problem, but it is a slow progression, so there is this window of opportunity where you can hope to make things better. So that was really important to me,” Chen-Plotkin said.
The effort is there: Sade Oba, who studied engineering at Penn, helped develop a brand new wearable device called Xeed for Parkinson’s patients – 30 of whom walked the event with the device this year as part of an experiment.
“For every limb I have the device on, it’s able to measure exactly how my leg or arm is moving throughout space,” Oba said. “The hope is to help them know exactly how they’re doing on a day-to-day basis.”
They hope that with every step they take, every day that passes will become a little bit brighter.