UNMC Skate-a-thon for Parkinson's set for Jan. 26-27

January 17, 2018

Image with caption: Six skaters skated all 24 hours at the 2017 UNMC Skate-a-thon for Parkinson's. They celebrated their accomplishment by chilling out on the ice at the end of the event.

Six skaters skated all 24 hours at the 2017 UNMC Skate-a-thon for Parkinson's. They celebrated their accomplishment by chilling out on the ice at the end of the event.

The 2018 UNMC Skate-a-thon for Parkinson's will be held Jan. 26 and 27 at the University of Nebraska Medical Center Ice Rink. The event, which runs from 2 p.m. Jan. 26 to 2 p.m. Jan 27, is open to the public.

For the fifth straight year, the skate-a-thon will be held in memory of its founder, Colleen Wuebben, a Parkinson’s sufferer who died in 2013 at the age of 60. Colleen’s husband, Ted, and their five children have continued the tradition of the skate-a-thon since Colleen’s death.

Colleen was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2005 at the age of 52. Three years later, the Wuebbens came up with the idea for the skate-a-thon. For the first three years, the Wuebbens flooded their back yard and held the event at their home.

In 2011, as a way to expand the event to more people, the Wuebbens moved the skate-a-thon to the UNMC Ice Rink.

Proceeds go toward clinical and basic science Parkinson's research at UNMC and to Parkinson's Nebraska, a 501(c)3 dedicated charitable organization committed to helping people in Nebraska and the surrounding areas who are affected by Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s Nebraska (formerly called Parkinson Health Development or PHD) was founded in 2005 by Colleen Wuebben when she was first diagnosed.

The cost to participate in the skate-a-thon is $15. The registration fee includes skate rental and ice access. People can skate as long as they wish. Walk-in registration also will be available at the event.

Skaters are encouraged to raise additional money by getting friends and family to donate, Ted Wuebben said, but this is not required. He said anybody can make a donation - they don’t have to skate. 

Skaters and non-skaters can register or make a pledge to Parkinson’s Nebraska via Eventbrite. To make a donation to the University of Nebraska Foundation to go toward Parkinson’s research at UNMC, click here.

Parkinson’s Nebraska offers affordable exercises and activities as well as educational programs and other resources designed to improve the quality of life for persons with Parkinson's.

"We are really excited with what is happening at Parkinson’s Nebraska," said Ted Wuebben, chairman of the organization’s 15-member board of directors. "We have more resources than ever before and think we are in a position to truly make a difference in our community."

Thanks in large part to proceeds raised at the previous skate-a-thons, Wuebben said Parkinson’s Nebraska has been able to expand its services across Nebraska. He said Kearney, Grand Island and Lincoln now are offering special exercise classes geared to people with Parkinson’s.

Wuebben said Parkinson’s Nebraska is hoping to grow the skate-a-thon by challenging businesses around Omaha to participate in the event.

"We know many other people would support the skate-a-thon, but they aren’t even aware of it," he said. "By getting more corporations involved and reaching out to families impacted by Parkinson’s, we think the sky is the limit for this event."

The opening ceremony will take place at 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 26. Closing ceremonies will begin at 1 p.m. on Jan. 27. Malorie Maddox, co-anchor of the evening newscasts for WOWT (Ch. 6), will emcee the opening ceremony. Montez, on-air personality from 2-7 p.m. weekdays on KISS-FM (96.1), will emcee the closing ceremonies. He is a member of the Parkinson’s Nebraska board.

The skate-a-thon will be live streamed at this link

The seven previous skate-a-thons at UNMC have netted more than $170,000 in proceeds. More than 500 skaters have participated in each of the last two skate-a-thons.

Wuebben said he anticipates that several skaters will once again attempt to skate all 24 hours this year.

Volunteers are needed for the event. If you wish to volunteer, register here.

The UNMC Ice Rink is located east of 42nd Street, about halfway between Dewey Avenue and Emile Street. A heated tent will allow skaters and spectators a place to stay warm. There also will be hot drinks, food and snacks. Emcees will keep the event moving, as skaters groove to non-stop music.

Schedule of events

Jan. 26

· 2 p.m. - Skating and countdown begins

· 3 p.m. - After school snack

· 4:30 p.m. - Official opening ceremony

· 6 and 7 p.m. - Chuck-a-Puck Contest ($1 chances to try to throw a foam puck into a bucket in the center of the ice rink; prizes will be awarded)

·  8 p.m. - Dance party on ice (all included)

·  9 p.m. - One last time to Chuck-a-Puck

·  10 p.m. - Pizza and pajama skate

·  Midnight Munchies - Treat provided for all

 Jan. 27

· 1 a.m. - Shiver Skate

· 2 a.m. - Halfway there photo!

· 3 to 6:30 a.m. - Open skating

· 6:30 a.m. - Sunrise yoga

· 8 a.m. - Time to make the donuts

· 9 a.m. - Dance party continues

· 10 a.m. - Country Kickers

· 11 a.m. - Lunchtime laps

· Noon - Hockey player special

· 1 p.m. - Final hour festivities

 Facts about Parkinson’s disease: 

· Is a motor system disorder resulting from the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells.

· The four primary symptoms of Parkinson’s are:

- tremor or trembling in hands, arms, legs, jaw and face;

- rigidity or stiffness of the limbs and trunk;

- slowness of movement; and

- postural instability or impaired balance and coordination.

· As many as one million Americans currently live with Parkinson’s. This is more than the combined number of people with multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and Lou Gehrig’s disease.

· Approximately 60,000 more are diagnosed each year, and this number doesn’t reflect the thousands of cases that go undetected.

· An estimated seven to 10 million people worldwide are living with Parkinson’s disease.

· Affects about 3 percent of the population over the age of 65.

· Men are 1.5 times more likely to have Parkinson’s than women.

· Incidence will double in the next 40 years with the number of elderly people soaring.

· Incidence of Parkinson’s increases with age, but an estimated 4 percent of people with Parkinson’s are diagnosed before the age of 50.

· There is no cure for Parkinson’s, but a variety of medications provide relief from the symptoms. 

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