Adamas Pharmaceuticals staff go on the Move to support Parkinson’s

Woman cycling through countryside

With a spirit of both advocacy and competition, the staff at Adamas Pharmaceuticals recently completed their month-long Adamas on the Move challenge, and among the outcomes (which included a stellar collection of haikus, an array of baked goods, a pile of chopped wood, and thousands of miles run, biked, walked, and more) was a generous gift to the Davis Phinney Foundation.  

The Adamas on the Move challenge was created in April 2020 as a way to keep the Adamas team motivated and engaged during that year’s Parkinson’s Awareness Month, which began just weeks after the onset of the pandemic.  

“Typically for Parkinson’s Awareness Month, we bring in speakers each week to motivate and educate employees about the latest in Parkinson’s,” said Katie Feeley, “but we needed a new plan in light of the pandemic, and we decided to make a game out of it.”  

Katie and her colleague Michele Mantynen spearheaded the month-long internal challenge, which not only helped keep Adamas employees physically healthy but mentallas well.  

“We wanted to help people stay active during the pandemic, but we also wanted it to be a team-building event that would engage and connect everyone and be accessible to all our staff,” Michele said. To make it so, they built in bonus challenges each day that had nothing to do with racking up miles on foot or by bike.  

This year, we had bonus challenges like mind exercises, meditation, creating a sign of support for World Parkinson’s Day, a baking challenge (which we called ‘Ada-MASTER Chef’), even a haiku challenge,” she said 

Run, ride, dance, lift, climb!
Bake cakes, make signs, exercise!
Ibuprofen, ice.
-Winner of Adamas on the Move haiku challenge

For the 2021 on the Move month, Katie and Michele worked to incorporate even more activities that were not only fun but also provided education about a certain aspect of Parkinson’s. “At Adamas we are very purpose driven,” Katie said, “so making sure the activities had a Parkinson’s and patient focus was important.”   

One activity this year that was a group favorite was a Dance for PD® class led by a local instructor. “It was wonderful to see how the Dance for PD classes are so tailored to Parkinson’s,” says Jennifer Chang. “The teacher was showing us moves where your arms are doing one thing, your legs are doing another, and doing both at the same time was definitely a cognitive challenge! You could really see how beneficial this class is for helping people with Parkinson’s live well. 

The Adamas staff also had the opportunity to practice vocal exercises that are designed to help people with Parkinson’s maintain or strengthen their voice.  

As for the movement component, the Adamas staff could do anything they wished, and activities they logged included everything from walking, cycling, dancing, and yoga to ice skating and chopping ice. In teams of seven, they completed challenges such as the team marathon (a challenge to log 26.5 of combined miles in one week) and “best team workout song,” which had to be written by team members and performed as they worked out. 

Another team challenge (and, we must say, one of our favorites) was their Davis Phinney cycling weekend. Employees and their families were encouraged to ride as many miles as they could in two days, and if the group reached certain mile markers, they increased their donation. “We hit 1,020 miles for a donation of $2500,” Katie says. “Our overall winner was a woman who rode 135 miles in two days.”  

In the course of the month, the staff moved a total of 16,760 miles. Fifty-six people logged more than 100 miles, and four of those completed more than 500 moving miles in 30 days. “The overall winner moved 1,000 miles!” Katie said. 

Team names for the 2021 Adamas on the Move challenge included Not Fast, Just Furious; Fighting DYSKINOFFS; Parabolic Perambulators; Storming OFF; Peloton for Parkinson’s; and Cobra KAi-Damas.

For other companies looking to begin an internal challenge like Adamas on the Move, Katie says to focus on activities that are creative, engaging, and balanced. “You want to always be sure you’re being inclusive when designing them,” she says. “Not everyone can or wants to do the same thing, so it’s important to have a good balance of different activities.”  

How You Can Get Moving 

Interested in participating in a month-long moving challenge yourself? Sign up for the Every Victory Counts Challenge 2021Join us for a month of community, activity, and helping people with Parkinson’s live well today. Complete your challenge at a time, place, and pace that works for you. To learn more, visit the Team DPF website here 

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