We have had quite a year! We are excited to announce the 4th Annual Team Kopacz Golf Tournament sponsored by Polaris. It appears that we can see the end of the pandemic coming sometime this year but to ensure everyone's safety we are again planning a tee time event (tee times available from 7 am to 3 PM) with the option to eat at the golf course or take the meal to-go. We are working with the golf course to provide additional outdoor seating.
At 7:30 PM we will be having a virtual event that can be joined where you feel comfortable (golf course or at home). The virtual event will highlight our impact to the PD community and plans going forward with research and community support.
Registration is now open. Please visit www.teamkopacz.com for the link to registration.
4th Annual Team Kopacz Golf Tournament sponsored by Polaris:
Event Date: Friday 7/16/21
Tee Times available from 7 am - 3 PM
Please sign-up for tee time(s) during registration
Format: 4 person scramble
Dinner: choice of to-go meal or eat at the golf course (4 options, 1 vegetarian)
7:30 PM Virtual Awards and Mission Update (More details to come)
Cost per foursome:
Before May 1st: $400 per team
After May 1st: $500 per team
If you are interested in partnering with us there are sponsorships still available. Please see attached document for details or reach out to Kristi or Jason!
Thanks, We look forward to seeing you on July 16th!
What a wild experience the last 12 months has been! From my initial DBS discussion with Dr Tuite until now we have been through an intense screening process, multiple COVID delays, and finally three difficult but successful surgeries. The last seven weeks have been one of the most challenging but rewarding times of our lives. The medical and research teams that we worked with are unbelievable! We are optimistic things will continue to improve!
February 25th, we went to my first DBS programming appointment where they turned on the right sided brain stimulator that helps the left side of my body. We hoped for a drastic, immediate effect with the stimulation but did not know exactly what to expect. During my appointment, the doctors reassured us that the lead placement looks excellent and that the location of placement in the GPI part of the brain (globus pallidus) can take a little time to become fully effective and find a good balance of DBS adjustments and medications. It always takes a little time for my meds to work after having to be off them overnight, so it was a waiting game.
After my appointment I took a nap and the benefits of stimulation were already starting to present themselves. Every day since then I have felt stronger, started sleeping better and generally felt more ‘normal’. DBS has already been giving me the freedom of living without the fluctuations of feeling “off” one minute and then dyskinesias (abnormal movements from the medications) the next minute. March 18th I return to the U of MN for the left side programming, watch out world!
Nine days later and I am starting to ramp up my workouts and I am seeing daily improvements. After a couple months of recovery, I am refocused and ready to go. Going forward I am going to ask all of you to help me to remain focused on keeping active, so I will publish my weekly results for accountability and support. I know that Mike Panteleo (trainer extraordinaire) is excited to hit the ground running and continue to push me when he returns from Florida this week!
Weekly summary (March 1st- March 7th):
# of exercise days: 7
Peloton Miles: 81
Miles Run: 3
Next Race: Goldies 5k (4/17/21)
2020. It started out with such optimism…..Team Kopacz traveled to Disney for a week of running, parks and warm weather! We ran alongside many friends from Team Fox grinding one day closer to an end to PD! Little did we know that in a few short months the world would be flipped upside down with the ramp-up of the COVID pandemic. Our life went from 5-6 days a week of work/school/sports to 7 days a week of shelter in place, working from home and distance learning for Luca, Henry, Charlie and Sofia! In fact, not much has changed as I am writing this update.
One bright spot of 2020 was that we found a Friday in July to have our 3rd Annual golf tournament. We made many changes to ensure everyone’s safety while continuing our mission to support the Parkinson’s community. We are extremely humbled by the support that we have received in three short years of the tournament. In the midst of the pandemic we raised $13,000 of which we split between the Michael J Fox Foundation and the University of MN. Team Kopacz has raised over $85,000 over the last 3 years! AMAZING! Our website photos have been updated to see our summer golf tournament memories. Thank you to everyone that supported us near and far. Block you calendars for July 16th, 2021 for our 4th annual event. More to come over the next few months.
The biggest challenge of the year for the Kopacz family was battling Jason's PD. Shortly after finishing the Dopey challenge in January we met with Jason's neurologist for his bi-annual check-in. During this visit we discussed the increasing side effects (dyskensias) and the increasing ups and downs typical of the progress of PD. He changed a few things with his medication but more importantly Dr. Tuite recommended that he should start the process towards Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery. Jason completed the medical examinations and tests in August and was given the green light to schedule the procedure within the next year. We discussed it and decided to proceed. The first surgery was scheduled for November 21st. Unfortunately, with COVID, it was delayed twice and tomorrow morning (January 18th at 7:30 am) Jason's first surgery will finally start! When you make a big decision like DBS it is very difficult to wait and have more time to worry. If you would like to learn more about DBS surgery visit the U of MN website udall.umn.edu/patients/learn-about-dbs. We are feeling very positive about this decision and grateful that Jason is a candidate for this life changing treatment.
In hopes of helping future generations, Parkinson's research is very important to Jason. Starting during his procedure tomorrow he will be part of four different research projects. Pretty much he is a rock star for going through this and still thinking about helping others.
We will try to update our website and/or Team Kopacz Facebook page as soon as we can to let you know how the surgery goes. Positive thoughts and prayers for Jason, his surgeon Dr McGovern, his medical team and our whole family are appreciated! Go Team Kopacz!
Love, Jason and Kristi
Dear TKO Friends and Supporters,
We hope you are all healthy and staying safe through these unique and challenging times. We continue to be grateful for many blessings, including your continued support – thank you.
We know this is a period of uncertainty and summer plans have been, and may continue to be, rapidly changing. We also recognize that many factors are changing the circumstances of daily life. We believe in our mission of Knocking Out Parkinson’s and we value your support and comradery. We also would like to take the opportunity this year to provide some support to smaller businesses that have been so generous to TKO in years past.
For these reasons, we are still planning to hold a modified version of the TKO annual fundraising event. The structure this year will provide flexibility and options, while protecting the health and safety of our supporters. Our current plans for July 17th include a modified golf tournament and online-only silent auction. We will NOT be hosting a dinner gathering (no dinner-only tickets) or on-site silent auction.
Here are some additional details for both portions of the event:
GOLF: The modified tournament will include staggered tee times, simplified play and a boxed meal to go. All golfing guidelines and protocols will be followed. Join us for some safe socialization, partnership and (hopefully) beautiful summer weather. $80 per golfer
SILENT AUCTION: The silent auction will be available throughout the day and online through the ClickBid program that was introduced last year. Support our mission and shop from the comfort of your home. You will have the opportunity to bid on items (many of which will directly support local businesses and groups who have generously supported our mission) or make a flat donation to TKO. More details, including instructions, to follow.
If you have already purchased dinner-only or golf tickets, please choose from the following options:
We know this year is unique. If your plans and circumstances have changed and you can no longer join us for 2020 (in person golfing or virtually at the silent auction), we look forward to seeing you next year at our event.
As always, we thank you sincerely for your support, contributions and generosity. Stay healthy and safe!
Jason and the TKO Team
Wow! We like to set aggressive goals! There is less we in that statement than Jason sets aggressive goals. Entering 2019 the goal was to finish the Disney Half and somehow before the end of that weekend it turned into Jason focusing on the 2020 Dopey Challenge 4 races, 4 days, 48.6 miles!
This year Disney will be a family affair! 12 of us will be headed south to run, cheer and support the PD community get moving! We are joining other Team Fox members with the goal to #outrunPD!
Jason, Luca and Henry are running the 5K on Thursday
Jason, Kristi and Bonnie are running the 10K on Friday
Jason and Kristi the half on Saturday
Jason will have a huge cheering section cheering on Sunday during the Marathon.
Team Kopacz has run/walked/biked over 4300 miles on the app ‘charity miles’. For each mile logged on the app a sponsor will donate$ 0.10 (biking) to $0.25 (walking/running). This app is an easy way to contribute directly to the cause that motivates you!
As we close 2019 and look ahead to 2020 we can say that without your support the daily fight against PD would be that much harder! To slow this disease takes aggressive goals, hard work and a large team. We are truly blessed! Thank you!
What’s next? Let’s get through Disney first!
Jason’s 2019 summary:
14 races: 1 Marathon, 4-Half Marathons, 1-10 Mile, 1-10K, 1-6K and 6-5K’s
1100+ miles run, too many sunrises and raced in 3 states (MN, IL and FL)
Pictures from 2019 races an be found on the Exercise and PD page.
In sports you often hear about the ‘sophomore slump’ or in music the ‘one hit wonder’ but as we kicked off the 2nd annual TKO Golf Tournament we believed in our message and delivered another successful event. Despite the extreme heat we stood eye to eye with PD and won the day!
Look for an email in early 2019 with the details of the 2019 golf event.
In January I set a goal of running at least 500 miles in the next 12 months and complete one race per month. After my run tomorrow, I will have ~275 miles ran and 7 races finished (3-5K’s, 1-10K, 1-10 Mile and 2 Half Marathons). I am well above pace to achieving my running goals with the next 6 months having longer races as I prepare for the TC Marathon in October and the Dopey challenge in January. I run 3-4 times a week, if anyone wants to run with me let me know.
When I run I listen to audiobooks, I generally lean towards books that are more business topics but lately I have purchased a few books that help me stay motivated. One of my favorite books in my audio collection is Pound the Stone: 7 lessons to developing grit on the path to victory by Joshua Medcalf. The message is simple, if you hit the stone once a day and it breaks after 100 days it wasn’t the last hit that caused the damage it was the culmination of that last 100 days that broke it. It’s a very simple message but for me it was motivation to push harder. I purchased the book ‘Pound the Stone’ after listening to Ben Newman’s pound the stone motivational speech to the Kansas State football team. Link below to that speech, if that doesn’t motivate you I’m not sure what will (Ha)! In that video you will hear the quote “When you understand your purpose, your purpose will overtake your pain”. We reached out to Mr. Newman and he gave us permission to use this quote to support Team Kopacz! Thank you, Mr. Newman. Use the One Mission link below to shop for different Team Kopacz gear, 40% of each purchase goes directly to Parkinson’s research.
I use the hashtag #PDdidnotwintoday as motivation to take the fight PD one day at a time. In sports you often hear ‘trust the process’ or ‘championships are won or lost in the days, weeks, months prior to the game’. This hold true for my fight PD, I need to prepare my body/mind for the unknowns of tomorrow. If all of us work together to win today I am confident we will celebrate the day we successfully KNOCK OUT PD!
Thank you for supporting our fight to KNOCK OUT PD!
Our inaugural Team Kopacz golf tournament was our means of communicating that I was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s and that we are ready to join the fight for a cure. The support we received in our ‘rookie’ year advocating for Parkinson’s research is very humbling but also extremely motivating. Our sophomore campaign is schedule for July 19th, 2019 at Rum River Hills.
In 2019 we will be supporting the Michael J Fox Foundation and the University of MN Foundation with our 2nd Annual Team Kopacz golf tournament. Both foundations have supported us as we worked through the uncertainty of a young onset PD diagnosis but more importantly we share the common goal of curing PD. Our goals for Team Kopacz haven’t changed much in the last year but our expectations have grown exponentially!
Why are we partnering with two foundations?
The Fox Foundation has introduced us to other people that share a diagnosis of PD but also are pushing every day for a cure. On our website I put together a running challenge to get me through the year, see 500 mile page. I am planning on running at least 500 miles in preparation for the 2020 runDisney Dopey Challenge. If you are not a golfer, this is another way to support out mission.
The University of MN Foundation approached us to share our story at the Diamond Awards we knew this was an opportunity to support the Neurology team that took us step by step through a tough diagnosis, but we never expected that our story would impact so my people! Since the Diamond Awards we have been working with the foundation to schedule a meeting to discuss future research and funding needed.
Partnering with Team Kopacz:
Building meaningful relationships is critical to our mission. It truly takes a 'Team' to achieve the goal of finding a cure for Parkinson's Disease. Your support motivates Jason more than he can express! We look forward to strengthening current and building new relationships that are motivated by our efforts to slow the disease and bring awareness to the daily grind of having PD. The 2019 sponsorship levels can be found on our partners page of our website.
Silent Auction/Raffle Items:
Can we top last year! Last year we had a trip to Europe, a furnace and air conditioning, MN Twins Champions tickets, a variety of theme baskets, gift cards…It was amazing. If you are interested please look at the details on our website (our partner’s tab). Contact Kristi Kopacz (612-799-3636 or firstname.lastname@example.org)
If you are interested in helping out the day of the event please contact Cindy Kopacz (email@example.com)
Thanks for supporting our journey. To be clear we are fighting a tough opponent but we remain optimistic that if we win today there may be a cure tomorrow!
Baseball in the Kopacz family is a big deal, especially Twins baseball. I wanted to be the next Kent Hrbek, I cried when Kirby retired, I still get chills when I hear “and we’ll see you tomorrow night” and it feels like yesterday when my dad and I were hugging and screaming alongside the 4 million people that were at game 7 in 1991 (you will have to watch the Diamond Awards to understand that joke, thanks TK!). My dad and I brought Luca to opening day at Target Field in 2010, I’m sure he doesn’t remember anything about the game but I wasn’t going to let that moment pass without him. Luckily, I did because in the top of the first Kevin Youkilis hit a foul ball and with Luca sleeping in my right arm I stood up and snatched the second foul ball in target field history with my left hand! Fast forward to the spring of 2014, I just started my career with Polaris, Charlie and Sofia turned 1 and that summer the MN Twins hosted the all-star game with the homerun derby on the night of my birthday. Kristi and I just made it through the toughest most rewarding year of our lives and then we were run over by my diagnosis of PD in late June. I was looking so forward to the all-star weekend and 2 weeks before it we had to process the diagnosis and figure out if we had to tell my family before the weekend or not. I knew how much my dad was looking forward to the weekend so I decided that we should wait until after the all-Star game to tell them. The all-Star game allowed me and Kristi to try to forget about the uncertainty of my diagnosis for a couple of hours and enjoy the festivities at Target Field.
When Eva contacted us about sharing our PD journey at the 2019 Diamond Awards the answer had to be yes! The Diamond Awards are a yearly celebration that brings together the MN Twins and the University of MN to raise money for research efforts towards finding a cure for not only PD but many other neurological diseases. The University of MN foundation raised over $300,000, had 600+ people attended that night with 23 representing Team Kopacz! The MN Twins and the University of MN are great ambassadors for the state of Minnesota and the Midwest, both organizations work hard to make our communities better. It was an honor to share our story and have Team Kopacz coupled with two great organizations.
As a MN Twins fan this time of year always bring optimism, spring training is here, everyone is discussing the impact players and if the Twins can pull it together for another magical run like in 1987 and 1991! My take away from the Diamond Awards is that the Twins are assembling a team not only focused on wins and losses but they are also focused on giving back. I hope our paths cross again!
Over the next couple weeks, we will be finalizing the golf tournament. We will be sending out the information on 3/1/19.
One of our goals this year is to run one race per month. So far, we are 2 for 2 (Disney Half in January and Valentine’s day 5K in February). If anyone is interested in running with Team Kopacz, we are signed up to run the Hot Dash on March 23rd (10 miles) and Goldy’s run on 4/7/19 (5k).
There are a few days in everyone’s life that you can look back and say, ‘that was the day my life changed forever. I knew immediately as I walked out of my doctor’s appointment on June 27th, 2014 everything in our life was just flipped upside down. I called Kristi, told her that the doctor was confident I had YOPD and what the next steps were. However, it wasn’t a slam dunk diagnosis. I had many tests over the next couple months to confirm the initial diagnosis. That October we took a trip to the Mayo clinic for a DAT Scan, that was the last piece in the 3-month long diagnosis process, our life did change forever on June 27th, 2014.
I met Kristi on 6/24/05, we were engaged on 9/23/06, married on 5/5/07, moved to Bologna, Italy on 9/23/08, 5/13/09 Luca was born, 3/16/11 Henry was born 1/23/13 Charlie and Sofia were born, July 14th is my birthday but it is also a reminder of a huge loss to our family. All these days contribute to who we are but those days didn’t significantly alter the course of our life like 6/27/14. The following Tuesday, 7/1/14, we had a second opinion at the University of MN with Dr. Tuite. After a few hours of discussion, we had a plan. I had to stay active! I had to build strength and endurance. On the way home we both bought Fitbits. That night our elliptical was used for exercise rather than a clothes hanger (see picture of me and my dad at the MLB All Star game in 2014, I was 292 lbs and 2 weeks after initial diagnosis) Over the next 4+ years we have maintained the active lifestyle Dr. Tuite told us I needed to have.
In the next couple weeks, we will be updating our website with details for the 2nd annual golf tournament and a couple new adventures we are working on.
Thanks for supporting our journey. To be clear we are fighting a tough opponent but we remain optimistic that if we win today there may be a cure tomorrow!
The first person to guess my current weight correctly, to the nearest whole pound, will win a Team Kopacz shirt. Email your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org
Jason and Kristi
Title of blog from Ben Newman, link below:
Exercise is the only countermeasure to slow the progression of Parkinson's disease. Our journey started in July of 2014 when Jason was diagnosed with PD at the age of 36. Since that day we have been living an extremely active life style. This blog will be mainly focused on the activities that support the day to day changes PD throws at us!