By Mark Hallum
Parkinson’s research will continue moving forward thanks to the fundraising efforts of Kyle Kravitz, who dedicated a weekend golf outing to his father and levied over $10,800 for the Michael J. Fox Foundation.
Keith Kravitz suffered from the illness for 25 years before his death in 2012, but he continues to be the inspiration for his now 20-year-old son, who said he found great purpose in bringing Pitch and Putt for Parkinson’s to the golf center at Flushing Meadows Corona Park last Sunday.
“Watching someone you love suffer with anything is tough to deal with, so having an opportunity to make an impact to work for a cause, and eventually for a cure, seemed like what I should be doing and what I wanted to do. The [Michael J. Fox Foundation] is an incredible place to work, as I have seen throughout the summer,” Kravitz said, explaining how the fundraising effort was all in his father’s honor. “I’m sure he would have been extremely proud to see how many people came out for such a great cause.”
Kravitz said over 45 people turned out for their tee time, including his grandfather and Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows), who offered an official citation to the Bayside High School graduate who now studies at University of Tampa.
“Kyle Kravitz has been an advocate for finding a cure for Parkinson’s Disease since his late father, Keith Kravitz, was diagnosed Parkinson’s Disease over 25 years ago. Keith was always in high spirits, regardless of his condition, always celebrating his favorite boxer, Muhammad Ali,” the proclamation from Weprin said. “Such exceptional individuals are the lifeblood of our community, our Great State of New York and our whole United States of America.”
Weprin said he planned to deliver a proclamation to Kravitz for every year he brings the event to Queens and praised the youth’s ability to set high goals for himself with no prior experience in fundraising.
Currently home in Queens for the summer while interning with the foundation, Kravitz’ involvment with the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity sparked his interest in philanthropy.
Kravitz, who is studying business, said he plans to make a career out of making a difference in the outlook for Parkinson’s patients, but his ultimate goal would be for researchers to find a cure to make the disease essentially a thing of the past.
According to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, approximately 1 million people in the U.S. suffer from the disease and 5 million worldwide are affected. Up to 60,000 new cases will be diagnosed this year. The condition is triggered by the death of dopamine cells in the brain, although the underlying cause is still unknown.
Sufferers often wait years and visit multiple doctors before being officially diagnosed with Parkinson’s, as there is no test to directly determine the presence of the disease.
Kravitz said the initiative to raise money for research is ongoing and donations can still be made at fundr
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall