Jimmy Choi may have Parkinson ’s disease, but it did not stop him from running 100 half marathons and 15 full marathons—and competing on “American Ninja Warrior.”
But perhaps his most significant accomplishment is founding Shake It Off, a 5K run in Bolingbrook, to raise awareness and money for Parkinson’s research. The run returns April 7 for its fourth year.
"My goal is to go out there and show everybody out there, no matter what they're faced with, the hardest step is that first step," Choi said in a press release. "Once you take that first step, the rest of it comes easy."
Choi, 42, of Bolingbrook, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at age 27. He discovered after 8 years that physical activity helped him manage the disease and now he stays as active as possible and encourages others to do the same with Shake It Off.
The fourth annual Shake It Off will include a 5K run or walk, a brand-new optional ninja course and a one-mile honor walk for people with Parkinson’s. The 5K steps off and ends at Bolingbrook High School.
Race finishers will receive a shake from Andy’s Frozen Custard, 260 S. Weber Road, Bolingbrook, if they present their race bib.
Registration is $35 for the 5K and $25 for the honor walk. There is also an optional $40 “virtual runner” registration, which allows participants to set up and complete a 5K course wherever they are to support the race.
The fees are tax deductible and all proceeds go to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which has raised more than $750 million for Parkinson’s research since 2000, the press release said.
There is still no cure for the disease, but there are a number of drugs in development to slow or stop Parkinson’s in affected individuals, according to the press release.
In 2017 Choi competed on “American Ninja Warrior.” Although he did not finish his inspiring run, the crowd cheered enthusiastically for him. He was invited back on the show and will compete again in late April in Indianapolis. The episode will air on NBC in late June or early July.