CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — It is that time of year again -- time to pull out your kayak, your stand-up paddle board, or whatever you have that floats, to take part in the annual Catch the Cure-Paddle for Parkinson’s.
The event is held to raise money to help find a cure for Parkinson’s Disease.
Crystal Ybanez helped organize a fishing tournament fundraiser in 2007. During the tournament's first three years, it raised close to $5,000 at each event.
“In 2006, my father, Ed Ybanez, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease at the age of 54," Ybanez said. "As a family we struggled with how to cope with the diagnosis and how we could take bad news and try to make the best of the situation. My aunt, Ramona Singleterry, suggested that we start a local support group and have a fundraiser to help support Parkinson’s Disease research in hopes that a cure will one day be discovered."
The organization decided to try something different in 2010 and held its first Paddle for Parkinson’s event.
“Paddle for Parkinson’s is a kayak/stand up paddle board race that starts at the Billish Park boat ramp on Padre Island," Ybanez said. "Paddlers race one another to the yacht club and back, either doing one 2.5 mile loop or two loops depending on the category they choose. The race is open to anyone who wants to participate. Anyone under 18 must have a parent or guardian present."
For those who do not have their own kayak or stand-up paddle board, Wind and Waves can be contacted at 361-937-9283 for rentals. Registration takes place Friday from 5-7 p.m. at Snoopy’s Pier, or on-site at the event from 7:30-8:30 am on Saturday.
“Each year the number of participants and funds raised has grown," she said. "The last few years, we’ve had 50-60 registrants for the event and hope to have the same amount this year."
This year the group is optimistic the event will bring its fundraising efforts to new heights, and at the same time, continue to unify community members in an effort to raise money for finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease, which is a debilitating neuro-degenerative disorder.
“The 2018 'Paddle' raised $13,500 which brings the total amount over 13 years to approximately $143,500," Ybanez said. 'That money has gone to support the Parkinson’s Foundation and Michael J. Fox Foundations, as well as helped support the local patients and caregivers through support group meetings, exercise classes, and more."
The 2019 event does have some changes from the past years. Previously they have had a post-race barbecue-and-band event immediately following the race and awards. This year, the race and awards will still take place, but the Coastal Bend Parkinson’s Support Group will be hosting an educational seminar at The Waves Resort instead.
The race begins at 9 am on Saturday on the canals at the Billish Park boat ramp in Padre Island, and will last until the final participant has finished.
Awards will be announced and handed out. The seminar will start at 12:30 p.m. and will have a combination of exhibitors and speakers.
From 12:30-1:00 p.m., attendees can visit exhibitors and have appetizers. There will be numerous speakers from 1-5 p.m. to discuss how to manage Parkinson’s disease and what options are available for patients and caregivers.
Support group meetings are open to anyone who would like to attend, and take place the third Saturday of the month. More information can be found on the website: https://www.catchthecure.org/