By JASON DUARTE For The Sun-Times News Group
Mary Anne Ostrenga was 47 years old when her life changed.
"When I was diagnosed with Parkinson's, everyone was in disbelief including my husband, my family and my physician," said Ostrenga, chairwoman of the Team Fox Garden Walk. "I have a lot of physician friends and they all said I was too young.
» Click to enlarge image
The Michael J. Fox Foundation will host the third annual Team Fox Garden Walk & Reception in Naperville which will raise money for Parkinson's research. Fox was diagnosed with the disease in the 1990s.
IF YOU GO
The third annual Team Fox Garden Walk & Reception is from 1 to 5 p.m. June
28 between six yards near Royce Road and Apple River Drive in the River Woods subdivision of Naperville. All six gardens are within a four-block radius. It's a self-guided tour, and you can start and end at any house.
Here, you'll find a map of the walking tour.
1. Nardis house,
2570 River Woods Drive,
2. Flynn house,
401 Apple River Court,
3. Casserly house
211 Fiala Woods Court,
4. Taverna house,
325 Royce Woods Court,
5. Griffith house,
305 Apple River Drive
6. Mater house,
301 Apple River Drive.
"I'd be out gardening and I'd have trouble standing up," Ostrenga said. "Usually, it's more common in people over 70."
After three physicians told her she has Parkinson's, she decided that was enough and went out and bought seven books to educate herself on her disease. In researching, she came across a Web site for the American Parkinson's Disease Association. In 2006, she attended a walk in Naperville, volunteered for the next year's event and has been involved ever since.
The third annual Team Fox Garden Walk & Reception hosted by the Michael J. Fox Foundation will take place from 1 to 5 p.m. June 28 between six yards near the intersection of Royce Road and Apple River Drive in the River Woods subdivision of Naperville.
The Garden Walk is "a self-guided tour and you can start and end at any house," said Naperville resident and Team Fox Garden Walk co-chairwoman Diane Breece.
There will be four to six master gardeners between the homes, answering any questions people may have. The homeowners are also very knowledgeable about their gardens. All six gardens are within a four-block radius. The six gardens will be at the Nardis house at 2570 River Woods Drive, the Flynn house at 401 Apple River Court, the Casserly house at 211 Fiala Woods Court, the Taverna house at 325 Royce Woods Court, the Griffith house at 305 Apple River Drive and the Mater house at 301 Apple River Drive. The reception will be held at the DuPage River Park, 808 Royce Road.
Ostrenga, a good friend of Breece, was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2001, and since 2007 this has become her passion, Breece said.
The American Association of University Women in Naperville voted Ostrenga "Woman of the Year" for her work with the Michael J. Fox Foundation.
Their goal this year is to raise $50,000, raising the bar from last year's $46,000 raised.
There will be a $50 donation per person and all proceeds benefit Parkinson's research. The donation is also tax deductible.
A reception will be held from 5 to 8 p.m., where there will be a silent auction and raffle for items such as a signed Buddy Guy guitar, a Porsche for a weekend, sports tickets, a private tour of the Shedd Aquarium, wine, golf clubs, four passes for free golf between courses in Wheaton, Naperville and Bolingbrook, a signed basketball by the 2009 Chicago Bulls team, a $150 Caribou Coffee gift card, gift baskets donated by Jim Beam, jewelry, tickets to plays and more.
Louise Kelly and her band will be performing and Naperville Mayor A. George Pradel will be in attendance with Dr. Kathleen Shannon, a neurologist at Rush Medical Center, Dr. Michael Rezak, a neurologist who just moved from Glenbrook Hospital, and a representative from the Michael J. Fox Foundation, Ostrenga said.
My Chef Catering, Belgio's, Sullivan Steakhouse and others will also be donating food for the event.
Tickets can be purchased at the event, by searching "Ostrenga" at www.teamfox.org or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.