CHICAGO, IL – Chicagoans are being inspired to run one mile per day and raise much needed funding for Parkinson’s research this month through the Movember campaign started by local endurance athlete and two-time world record holder Jimmy Choi. More than 18 years ago, Choi was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease at just 27 years old. After a scary fall down the stairs while holding his infant son, Choi began treating his illness with exercise and challenging his body to higher and higher athletic feats. To date, he has completed more than 100 half marathons, 16 full marathons, competed multiple times on American Ninja Warrior and broke two Guinness World Records for burpees and pushups. An inspirational speaker, Choi also trains at and is an ULTIFIT coach Ultimate Ninjas’s five gyms in Chicago and St. Louis.
100% of the proceeds to the Movember campaign will go towards Parkinson’s research through the Michael J. Fox Foundation where Choi is a board and patient council member. Choi has raised a staggering $600,000 for the Foundation to date. The one mile per day goal was inspired by Jimmy’s son Mason who began challenging himself to run one mile per day earlier this year to increase his fitness. People can log their miles, start a team, interact with other participants and donate at any level they want at fundraise.michaeljfox.org/movember4pd.
“I don’t move like other runners, cyclists, and I certainly don’t move like other ninjas. Yet I try to find ways to defy the odds presented to me. When one road is blocked, change your course. You will find a way,” said Choi. “Fundraising is so important because there is no sense of urgency around government funding for Parkinson’s research since people die with Parkinson’s but it doesn’t kill you. Private funding is critical and, the great thing about the Movember fundraiser, is that when people put their hard-earned dollars into a donation to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, every penny is going to a research program.”
People can participate in Movember as an individual or a team by just getting active, just donating or both. One of the top fundraising teams so far is Team ULTIFIT supported by the gym community where Jimmy and his kids train and he coaches. They surpassed their original fundraising goal within the first week. Including t-shirt sales, they have raised more than $10,000 so far.
“Jimmy has been part of our Ultimate Ninas/ULTIFIT community since the start. He’s been extremely inspiring not only to myself on a personal level, but he has made a huge impact on our clients and also people around the globe. There was no question to participate and get our community to rally around Jimmy,” said Tori Clement ULTIFIT cofounder and trainer.
Jimmy’s daughter Karina has competed in ninja competitions since she was eight years old, training at Ultimate Ninjas with American Ninja Warrior icon Jesse Labreck. Labreck is one of the top individual fundraisers for the Movember campaign.
“I have gotten super close to the family. Anything I can do to support Jimmy and help him with fundraising for the Fox Foundation I want to be a part of it,” said Labreck.
Jimmy is now training to attempt setting another burpee Guinness World Record this Spring and a 24-hour, nonstop bike ride from Chicago to Detroit in Fall 2022.
“There are pills we can take and procedures, including brain surgery, to mask symptoms but the only treatment proven to slow or even hold the progression is exercise. My message to someone young being diagnosed is that you are just diagnosed with a movement disorder. That doesn’t mean you have to stop moving, it just means that you have to move even more,” said Choi.
Michael J. Fox was diagnosed with Early Onset Parkinson’s Disease at 29 years old, just two years older than Jimmy. As the world’s largest nonprofit funder of Parkinson’s research, The Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to accelerating a cure for Parkinson’s disease and improved therapies for those living with the condition today. The Board and Michael J. Fox himself fund administrative expenses so that 100% of donations can go towards research.
Learn more about the Movember campaign, sign up and donate at https://fundraise.michaeljfox.org/movember4pd.
ABOUT ULTIMATE NINJAS & ULTIFIT
Inspired by the hit television show American Ninja Warrior, Ultimate Ninjas offers a wide variety of obstacle courses for kids and adults of every age and skill level. Ultimate Ninjas offers open gym, kids obstacle course training classes, birthday parties, corporate team building and private events. Each of the Ultimate Ninjas facilities are managed by a Pro Ninja that successfully competed on the American Ninjas television show.
ULTIFIT offers unique adult fitness classes that incorporate High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) as well as Obstacle Course Training. Programs are perfect for those looking to improve their functional fitness all the way through athletes of all levels preparing for their next OCR event.
Ultimate Ninjas has been recognized by USA Today as one of the top Ninja Gyms in the United States and For more information about Ultimate Ninjas programs, visit ultimateninjas.com.
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