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Forest Hills resident hosts second annual Pitch & Putt for Parkinson’s event

Kyle with his grandfather/father’s dad, Bernard Kravitz at the second annual Pitch & Putt for Parkinson’s.
Courtesy of Kyle Kravitz
By Steven Goodstein

A former Bayside resident has dedicated himself to raising funds and spreading awareness in response to a fatal illness.

Last Sunday 21-year old Kyle Kravitz hosted the second annual Pitch & Putt for Parkinson’s fund-raiser at the Flushing Meadows Corona Park golf center in honor of his late father Keith, who died in 2012 after a 25-year battle with Parkinson’s disease.

The fund-raiser consisted of an abridged version of a full golf course experience, with holes set 40 to 80 yards away instead of the usual 400 to 500 feet. Each hole was a par 3. The only clubs used were wedges and putters.

The event drew 45 participants and concluded with speeches by Kravitz’s paternal grandfather and state Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows), who presented Kravitz with a proclamation for his fund-raising efforts and dedication to finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease.

After the speeches, Kravitz announced that the event had raised a total of $15,000. Last summer’s event raised just under $11,000.

“My father was the most fun, kind-hearted and high-spirited person I’ve ever met,” he said. “Never did he once complain about the hand he was dealt, and he continued to fight hard each and every day with a smile on his face as if nothing was wrong.”

Keith Kravitz had a successful career in life and health insurance and even started his own practice, Kravitz Associates, before being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1987. He died in 2012 as a result of the illness.

The younger Kravitz, who used to live in Bayside and now lives in Forest Hills, studies business management at the University of Tampa. He is also a summer intern with the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, working in development and community events.

“When I first started interning with the foundation, I quickly learned that it didn’t take an organization to hold a fund-raising event – all I needed to do was help be a part of the fight in the search for a cure,” Kravitz said. “I wanted to do anything I could to fight for my dad as he fought to be strong for me, and the Pitch & Putt for Parkinson’s fund-raiser is what came to be. Hopefully, this event will continue to create further exposure for a great cause.”

Parkinson’s disease is caused primarily by the dopamine-generating cells which break down and die. When this occurs, it causes abnormal brain activity, eventually leading to signs of Parkinson’s.

According to the foundation, about one million Americans and 10 million people worldwide live with Parkinson’s disease, while approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s each year.

Reach Steven Goodstein by e-mail at sgoodstein@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

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