BEDFORD — Since their uncle was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, two local brothers have worked strenuously to raise money for medical research, with their lengthy journey producing more than $100,000 for the Michael J. Fox Foundation.
Their efforts are just beginning.
“It is just incredible that two guys like Tyler and Justin can do that kind of thing,” said Bob Griffin, a 55-year-old Bedford resident who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in his late 40s.
Since then, Tyler and Justin Griffin have worked behind the scenes to gather donations in an effort to expand research and possibly find a cure for the disease. Tyler ran the Boston Marathon in 2017, raising more than $30,000 at the time for the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which is dedicated to finding a cure.
Now, a year after the Griffin family successfully petitioned Gov. Chris Sununu to sign a proclamation designating April as a month honoring those struggling with Parkinson’s disease, a new initiative is underway to raise even more money for the cause.
Later this month, Justin Griffin will host the inaugural Cause for a Cure event in Washington, D.C. To date, nearly $80,000 has been raised for the upcoming fundraiser, which is currently sold out.
“It is such a divided time politically, but we wanted to bring people together on both sides of the aisle, put their differences aside and really rally for Parkinson’s,” said Justin Griffin. “All of the money will go directly to the Michael J. Fox Foundation.”
It is events like the upcoming Cause for a Cure fundraiser that keep people who are struggling with this illness looking toward the future, he said.
“They are not alone in this struggle,” said Tyler Griffin, who hopes to bring a similar event to New Hampshire.
Bob Griffin said he received his diagnosis after visiting the doctor because of a mild shaking in his hand.
“There is nothing you can do about it,” said Bob Griffin, stressing the need to remain optimistic that research will prevail and someday a cure will prevent others from suffering.
“Parkinson’s affects your mental and your physical demeanor,” said Justin Griffin. “I think Uncle Bobby has done an incredible job fighting through the adversity and the burden that this disease can place on a person. It is really admirable that through it all, he has been able to pick himself up.”
So many people have been touched by Parkinson’s, said Tyler Griffin, who thanked friends, family members and strangers who have supported the efforts so far. He specifically mentioned the Tamposi Family Foundation and the Ted Williams Hitters Hall of Fame, which were both founded by the brothers’ grandfather, Samuel Tamposi Sr. of Nashua.
The brothers are looking forward to creating an annual or biannual Cause for a Cure event in the nation’s capital, which they said would bring officials together, depolarize the nature of politics and raise money for a good cause.
The inaugural Cause for a Cure event will begin Feb. 10 at 6 p.m. at The George Town Club in Washington, D.C.
Attendees are expected to include Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts; Gov. Gavin Newsom of California; former Republican congressman from New York Jack Quinn, who has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s; Congressman Peter King, R-N.Y.; Congressman Jim McGovern, D-Mass.; Congressman Jose Serrano, D-N.Y., who has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s; former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell; and former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
Also invited to the event are Sununu and former Sen. Johnny Isakson, who also suffers from Parkinson’s. The event will include cocktails and a discussion of Parkinson’s disease.