Dr. Mark Sedrak, Neurosurgeon at Kaiser-Permanente Redwood City tours a 5th grade letter exhibit with Ann Boylan, Outreach Chair of Moving Day Silicon Valley 2016.


We say out of the mouths of babes when a small child shows an adult’s wisdom and understanding of a situation. This phrase was fitting when Mrs. Kochar’s fifth grade class at Pioneer Elementary School in Union City wrote letters of gratitude to local leaders in neuroscience research and treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

The student letter project was exhibited at Moving Day®, an annual fundraising walk event produced by National Parkinson Foundation. The event, held on June 4 at Evergreen College in East San Jose, unites families, friends and communities, and physicians in the fight against Parkinson’s disease. The celebration of movement featured a walk, resource booths, and an opportunity for people to try boxing, dance, and other exercises proven to help manage the symptoms of PD.

The students’ heartfelt letters and charming portraits surprised and delighted many doctors who attended the event.


Dr. Kathleen Poston, Assistant Professor of Neurology &, by courtesy, of Neurosurgery, at Stanford University Medical Center and Dr. Veronica E. Santina, Clinical Assistant Professor, Neurology & Neurological Sciences at Stanford University marvel at their portraits drawn by 5th graders.

Moving Day Silicon Valley 2016 Outreach Chair Ann Boylan, a retired schoolteacher thought of the idea for letter-writing project to praise local doctors and researchers for their work in Parkinson’s disease, and collected the names and photographs of doctors who were honored as Parkinson’s Pioneers at Moving Day 2015.

Boylan said, “Children are such fearless explorers of new knowledge. They confidently assume language like ‘Parkinson’s disease’ and ‘neurosurgery.’ They are absolutely at  home with technology in theirclassroom and take it for granted that technology is an integral part of breakthroughs in science. Moreover, because they are children, they readily reach out to help someone who is hurt.”

“I think these are ideal characteristics for the next generation of doctors. Perhaps fifth grade is the perfect place to plant the idea that they could grow up to be a neurologist or neuroscientist. I might have reminded neurosurgeon Dr. Mark Sedrak  of his grade school teacher because he told me he discovered his passion to know the brain when he was still a  youth  in school. The brain, he told me, is the final frontier.”

Umar Shailsh wrote to Dr. Mark Sedrak, neurosurgeon at Kaiser-Permanente Redwood City, “Congratulations Dr. Sedrak. You are a hero and you change people’s life everyday.”

Check out a few of the excellent portraits!


bronte-stewart-portrait copy





About Parkinson’s Women Support: The mission of Parkinson’s Women Support is to offer moral support, encouragement and camaraderie for women who are Parkinson’s disease patients. Check out our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/parkinsonswomen

One thought on “5th Grade Gratitude at Moving Day® 2016

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