Fighting Parkinson’s disease
One “Kick” at a Time
What is KICK?
The “KICK” kickathon concept was developed Irwin native Bill Viola Jr., founder of Kumite Classic Entertainment, and former Monroeville Mayor and Pennsylvania State Senator Sean Logan. Logan was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s disease in his mid-forties and Viola spent years caring for his Grandmother who passed away from neurodegenerative complications. Logan developed a 5K to promote his “Do Something” campaign as means to encourage exercise. Physical activity has been proven to be an effective method to combat Parkinson’s disease. Viola partnered with Logan in 2017 to add a “Kick-a-thon” element to the 5k, and its growth has been exponential. Viola explains,
“Last year the KICK participants raised just over $5000 with 50 participants. This year we doubled both bringing us up to over $15,000 with just two kicksathons. The “KICKS” are a unique way to attract sponsors and big donors. It helps us raise the big numbers.”
Sean and Shannon LoganPIND offers a unique twist to the traditional 5K by incorporating Viola’s “Kick-a-thon” concept. Viola explains, “There are a lot of in-house kick-a-thons that take place at schools, but none that actually kick for distance in the heat. This is the first of its kind.” The estimated amount of kicks thrown by each participant was 1500 and with over 100 students, the total number was approximately 150,000 kicks.
The Viola Karate Dojo has made it their mission to KICK Parkinson’s disease—literally by assembling over 100 students kicking one mile non-stop though the racetrack at Boyce Park in Monroeville. The students showcased their skill during record setting heat and donated over $10,000 to aid The Pittsburgh Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases (PIND) for research. In all, over the past three years, the PIND event has raised over $1 million dollars through appropriations, grants and sponsors. 100% goes directly for experimental tests in hopes of finding the cure in Pittsburgh.
“The cause is near and dear to my heart. I’ve been looking for a way to fight this epidemic, and having my school ‘Kick’ for a cure was a perfect fit. Building character is an important part of martial arts. My students exceeded my expectations. Their selflessness is incredible.”
9-year-old Mike Barone led the group of by donating nearly $2015 followed by 11-year-old Aidan Thornton ($900) and 5-year-old Madden McKeever ($800). In just three years, through corporate sponsorships and race participants the 5k race, walk and KICK has surpassed over $300,000 in total donations for PIND which brings the grand total to over $1 million dollars in funds.
Viola has been involved in charitable work since his Senior year at Pitt, when he established Kumite International Collegiate Karate scholarships (The Acronym KICK). The partnership program with Western PA Police Athletic League and Eckert Seamans Law Firm allocated $50,000 in scholarship funds for karate athletes. The program made national news when Lynn Swann (The Chairman of President George W. Bush’s Council of Physical Fitness and Sports) presenting the scholarships with Viola at the 2004 Kumite Classic in Pittsburgh.
Although Viola is known internationally for his competitive success in karate he says,
“Trophies collect dust. Making an impact on the community is priceless. They are making a difference and learning the value of paying in forward. I tell them, every kick of kindness creates an endless a ripple in our community.”
PIND spearheads efforts to find a cure for Parkinson’s Disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Huntington’s Disease, Stroke, and Alzheimer’s Disease. The kids have already made plans to “Kick Parksinsons” again next year. For more information please visit: PIND5K.org
The $1 Million Dollar Mark!!
PIND Event race, walk and kick Donation Breakdown 2016-2018
|$125,000||PIND Race (2016)|
|$135,000||PIND Race (2017)|
|$145,000||PIND Race (2018)|
|$95,000||Pittsburgh Association Dinner (2017)|
|$50,000||Clear Thoughts Foundation Grant (2017)|
|$50,000||Clear Thoughts Foundation Grant (2018)|
|$150,000||PA Budget Appropriation (2016)|
|$150,000||PA Budget Appropriation (2017)|
|$150,000||PA Budget Appropriation (2018)|