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Aug 28

Kokomo woman to participate in NYC Marathon, raise money for Parkinson’s research – Kokomo Tribune

KOKOMO On Nov. 5, 2017, Denise Bradley will be joining around 47,000 other runners for the famous New York City Marathon.

Denise Bradley makes her way through the course at Runnin' the Shores on Saturday, August 26, 2017. Kelly Lafferty Gerber | Kokomo Tribune

Many participants run to raise money, or in honor of a cause they believe in. Bradley is no different. An occupational therapist for St. Vincent Kokomo, Bradley is attempting to raise money for Parkinsons disease research as she prepares for the marathon.

Bradley has been involved with the Howard County Parkinsons Support group in Howard County since March 2016 as a liaison for St. Vincent. During her time in the group, shes learned more about the disease, which affects around 400 people in Howard and surrounding counties. It also gave her the desire to do more to raise awareness of, and maybe someday provide a cure for the chronic disorder.

I have learned so much from them, they are so open, said Bradley of the between 30 to 60 people who consistently attend the monthly support group.

They want to help each other, and anyone who comes in, they want everybody to be more empowered, and I thought, gosh, how can I give back?

As St. Vincents liaison for the group, Bradley helps organize speakers for the group who provide an array of knowledge spanning multiple aspects of life with Parkinsons disease. Hopefully, those speakers provide valuable insight for the groups members, and certainly, theyve given Bradley a wider understanding of the disease. Its helped her when working with her patients, she said; allowing her to make new recommendations based on her widening knowledge.

Its amazing the resources they have tapped into. I mean, I have learned so much through the support group in a year, she said.

One of the local, valuable resources she mentioned, beyond various types of therapy, was Rock Steady Boxing, an exercise program through the downtown YMCA, and added that her husband is a certified trainer.

Her involvement in the support group was initially spurred on by a good friend being diagnosed with Parkinsons.

And it was a huge lifestyle change for that family, so that kind of hit home to begin with, and I thought, gosh, if theres a way that I could get involved and see if I can help him with different resources, she said.

Denise Bradley, left, makes her way through the course at Runnin' the Shores on Saturday, August 26, 2017. Kelly Lafferty Gerber | Kokomo Tribune

As she was looking ahead to the New York Marathon, Bradley learned you can run for a specific foundation, charity or cause. So, after being inspired by the support group, she decided to raise money for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinsons Research. While the funds, she said, might not be funneled back directly to the community, she said she hopes the efforts of the Foundation will help younger and future generations diagnosed with the disease.

Her goal is to raise at least $3,200, an amount she landed on based on a multi-tier system of fundraising made possible through the marathon.

The support groups facilitator, Susan Szep, said in an email she was stunned when Bradley told her about her decision to raise money and awareness through her marathon run.

My response was I didnt know you were a runner. Denise said she wanted to make more people in the Kokomo area aware of the programs people with Parkinsons disease and to raise funds for a cure, said Szep in the email.

As it turns out, Bradley has been running marathons for just under ten years. Shes run in the iconic Boston Marathon twice, and has a loose goal of running one in each state. So far, she estimated shes done so in around 14 states.

Training involves running in the early morning starting around 5 a.m. with her weekly mileage falling between 25 and 50 miles.

Denise is an amazing person, said Szep in an email. She personifies the quote still waters run deep. Denise is compassionate, unassuming, knowledgeable and a great person to have on your team.

Szep hopes that Bradleys actions help locals to be more aware of how Parkinsons affects the local community and encourages donations to organizations like the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

Donations towards Bradleys goal can be made at

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Kokomo woman to participate in NYC Marathon, raise money for Parkinson's research - Kokomo Tribune

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