Holiday lights brighten the night and raise awareness about Parkinson’s Disease.
Mike Justak has had Parkinson’s disease for 14 years. One night in 2009, when Justak was having trouble sleeping, he went online and came upon a synchronized Christmas light show. “I saw lights going wild and it amazed me!” says Justak.
That became the inspiration for PD Shimmers, an annual Christmas light show set to holiday music that Justak puts on to raise awareness about Parkinson’s and to raise funds for the Mike Justak Foundation for Parkinson’s Disease. The show has been held at his house on Ithaca Lane.
“The first year was a big success,” says Justak. “It generated interest for something I could do on a recurring basis to spread awareness about Parkinson’s,” he says.
“The number of lights represents the number of people who were diagnosed with Parkinson’s the previous year,” says Justak.
Two years ago, he had announced that 2017 was going to be the show’s last season. The physical demands of running the five-hour show became too much, says Justak.
Then Matt Dunn, a neighbor who lives on Juneau Lane, offered to help. “Matt moved the show to his house, and convinced his neighbors to go along.” Last year, Justak did a small show at his home and then part of the show at Dunn’s home. This year’s show will take place completely at Dunn’s house.
Justak says, “The light show is my passion and my therapy. It’s my lifeline.”