Benjamin Corbett, a college senior, is wise beyond his years.
Maybe that can be attributed to one great teacher he had — Mr. Porter. Mr. Porter was a seventh-grade teacher everyone loved. He made learning interesting … and he had a lasting impact on Ben.
So, when Ben learned that Mr. Porter had early-onset Parkinson’s disease, he took it personally.
Ben was already intimately familiar with the effects of Parkinson’s because his grandfather has it. When he was little, Ben thought it was normal for older people’s hands to shake. Once he was older, he realized the toll this disease can have — it caused his grandfather to give up some things he loved, like working as an architect.
This heightened awareness, combined with Ben’s innate compassion, compelled Ben to take action — for both his grandfather and his beloved teacher.
Through a quick Google search, Ben connected with the Parkinson’s Foundation, which helped him start a Parkinson’s Champions fundraiser: Kickin’ for Parkinson’s. The soccer fundraiser between two rival schools in Rochester, NY, is now in its third year, brings the community together (particularly Mr. Porter’s former students) and has raised awareness and more than $4,000 for Parkinson’s research.
“The best thing anyone can do for people with Parkinson’s is to not give up on them,” Ben said. “Always be supportive and optimistic — and don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help.”
Ben’s efforts haven’t stopped with Kickin’ for Parkinson’s. He has also participated in Moving Day events, and on a more personal level has given back in countless ways to his grandfather, Mr. Porter — and his teacher’s two young sons — by helping them to see the bright spots, especially on difficult days.
Ben is glad that he’s been able to make a difference for people with Parkinson’s in his hometown and pay tribute to his teacher, Mr. Porter.
“The Parkinson’s Foundation is ready to help, and I want their reach to grow and I hope those who love people with Parkinson’s continue to take action on behalf of their loved ones,” Ben said.
Interested in starting your own Parkinson’s fundraiser? Sign up as a Parkinson’s Champion today.