Each month, we spotlight an inspiring story from someone in our Team DPF® community who is helping to improve the quality of life of people living with Parkinson’s by raising funds. Today, we are happy to feature Jim Duran from Palatine, IL.
Which event did you participate in?
I rode RAGBRAI in 2009, 2017, 2018, and 2019 and the Sub-5 Ride from 2010-2016.
Why did you decide to join Team DPF?
My dad, George, had Parkinson’s for many years, and I felt helpless that I couldn’t do anything to affect the progression or help him in a meaningful way. In 2009, I discovered the Davis Phinney Foundation and the Victory Crew (now Team DPF), which highlighted fundraising for Parkinson’s-related causes through cycling. I said, “This, I can do!” So, I signed up to do my own fundraising ride for RAGBRAI in 2009, and I’ve been using cycling as a vehicle for fundraising for Parkinson’s-related causes ever since! Now, I focus on RAGBRAI with my wife Heather on our tandem, the Flash! (See featured image.)
What’s been your best memory as part of Team DPF?
In 2016, I was captain of the team that wanted to help Jimmy Choi (PD warrior) complete a Sub-5 Century ride (100 miles in less than five hours). With teamwork, we were able to help Jimmy accomplish the goal, the first known by a PD warrior, in 4:56! Making that happen still remains a favorite memory. It required recruiting riders, executing the plan, and helping Jimmy learn how to ride in a group and survive to the line. That is still my proudest Parkinson’s-cycling-related memory from a Team DPF event.
What are the most important actions you took that helped you reach your fundraising goal?
Awareness, matching funds, and donor engagement. First, I learned to find ways to get my story out to my potential donors. I use a moderated Facebook group to invite my prospective donors. Second, many people work for companies that have foundation arms that offer employee donation matching opportunities. This is free money left on the table and many times it’s simply making people aware of it and how it works. Finally, I give my donors a reason to care about the event. I tell a story, provide updates, and follow through on how it went. This pays dividends in the following years as people recall stories from the event.
What would you say to someone interested in joining Team DPF?
You can raise more money than you think, but it may take a little effort and creativity on your part. I have found that if you’re willing to spend the time and effort, it will yield results. Also, don’t be afraid of networking and finding opportunities to build relationships with others that may have an angle to funding. For example, I built a relationship with the charitable giving foundation chairperson in my company. That led to some exposure to my work in volunteering and fundraising for causes in that realm which ultimately led to a quarterly and then annual recognition by the foundation. These came with checks to a cause – score! That would not happen without the networking effort. So, don’t be shy. You never know where it will go.
Do you have a Team DPF or fundraising story you’d like to share?
Your story, like Jim’s, could be featured on our blog and Facebook page so others can learn from your experiences. Submit Your Team DPF Moments of Victory® Story now.
If you’re not yet part of Team DPF, but you’d like to join us in raising money to help people live well with Parkinson’s today, contact our team to get started. You can also find out where RAGBRAI is going in 2020 here.