Coral Gables attorney John Kozyak and about 100 other lawyers, judges and family members are walking to support the National Parkinson Foundation on Sunday.
Kozyak has organized a team to walk in this year’s Moving Day at Bayfront Park in Miami on a one-mile path featuring a movement pavilion with stations where participants can do yoga, pilates, tai chi and Latin dance.
The Miami-based foundation has organized more than 16 walks nationally to support services for people with Parkinson’s disease and medical research.
Kozyak, a co-founder of Kozyak Tropin Throckmorton, was motivated to participate after both parents were diagnosed with the disease.
“My mom would always whistle when calling us for dinner, and she lost that,” he said. “Through speech therapy, she was able to regain it, and it’s a pretty amazing thing to have your mom call you on the phone and whistle.”
More than 4 million people have Parkinson’s disease, and about 60,000 new cases of the degenerative illness that causes muscular stiffness and involuntary trembling are diagnosed each year.
“I found a lot of lawyers with a connection to the disease,” Kozyak said. “Judges and lawyers look up to Janet Reno, and she’s the first person I went to.” The former U.S. attorney general and Miami-Dade state attorney was diagnosed in 1995, two years after she went to Washington to serve in the Clinton Administration.
Kozyak’s team includes Reno; her niece, model Hunter Reno; and Greenberg Traurig co-founder Bob Traurig.
Team Kozyak is the top contributor this year, raising more than $13,190. Team Akerman Senterfitt raised $5,650. E. Richard Alhadeff, retired partner at Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson, raised $3,250.
Overall, the foundation event has raised more than $1 million, including $100,000 in South Florida. Supporters who raise at least $100 receive a T-shirt.
“We have identified hospitals and medical schools for people to know where to call and ask questions and get treated,” said Alhadeff, who is on the foundation’s board. “I was diagnosed with the disease 15 years ago. You can always solve problems if you work on them.”
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, whose father, former President George H.W. Bush, was diagnosed with vascular parkinsonism, is honorary chair of this year’s event along with Katie Couric, the nationally known broadcast journalist.