RALLY AGAINST PARKINSON’S
MISSION: To be a resource for excellence, exercise, wellness and camaraderie for people living with Parkinson’s Disease (PD), including care partners, families and friends.
Stephen B. Sappington, Founder and President
Steve has mre than 40 years’ experience in all levels of management. His career with Lockheed Martin provided him ample opportunity to create and manage projects of all sizes. He worked with planning, implementation and design and managed budgets from conservative to millions. He oversaw the work of many different teams and reported directly to top executives. Steve holds an MBA from Loyola University in Maryland and a BA from Towson University.
Diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2014 after his wife noticed he was dragging his left foot and his hand was shaking, Steve says he was in denial. Friends and family urged him to try Rock Steady Boxing (RSB) and he obliged with dragging feet. “The decision to attend changed my life significantly for the better! I learned all about PD, and how this disease impacts each person in a unique way. I found many fighters who were in different stages of their fight; some new like me without many serious conditions, to those with advanced PD,” Steve says. He found the class had a positive impact on his symptoms and he was hooked!
When Steve found that the funding source for these classes was not guaranteed, he decided to give back by supporting RSB. He formed Rally Against Parkinson’s (RAP) Harford Inc, an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that raises funds that directly support free RSB classes for PD patients.
As president of Rally Against Parkinson’s, Steve says, “I am dedicated to fight this disease by providing those like me with free RSB classes to enable them to make a choice to fight back, and give them a chance to be in the fight personally, not just as a patient. These classes provide HOPE for those with PD!”
Steve and his wife, Dee, have five grown sons and eight grandchildren.
Dee Sappington, Secretary
At the age of 12, Dee Sappington was catapulted into a caretaker’s world when her mother was diagnosed with Leukemia. She helped her father care for her baby brother and her nine-year-old sister. At the age of 13, her mother passed, and her immediate and extended family worked together to make life as normal as possible. Dee says this is how she learned early that it was important to help others. Dee continued to be the caretaker for aging relatives, and despite its difficulties, found that caretaking is so rewarding. At the age of 53, after raising five sons, the tables turned for Dee. She had her first colonoscopy and was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer that had metastasized to her liver. Her husband became her caretaker and innumerable dear friends and families lent a hand to help, pray, drive, cook and take care of Dee. She never lost her positive attitude, and she says, “Despite the odds, I’m still here!”
Now it is again Dee’s turn to be the caretaker, this time for her husband, who has Parkinson’s. She wants to help him help others, so together they are working to give back to the PD community. Dee’s perspective: If we get a little cough or a cold, we are pretty confident that we’ll be better soon. Those with Parkinson’s know they will never heal from their disease. They will continue to have tremors, dyskinesia, dragging gait, loss of voice, handwriting they and no one else can read, instability when walking and so much more. We’ve found that what seems like a doomed PD path can turn into one that includes laughs, fewer feelings of insecurity and more feelings of camaraderie and triumph! Dee serves on the board of directors for Rally Against Parkinson’s to help those with PD fight back against their disease through Rock Steady Boxing classes.
Steven R. Brill, Chief Operating Officer
Steven R. Brill is a social scientist with a diverse background in planning, systems engineering, information technology and knowledge management. He is a Vietnam Veteran (USAF 66-70), and was employed in the DoD and aerospace industries for 40 years. He retired from his position as senior systems engineer at NASA in 2013.
An Eagle Scout, Steve also served as a Cub, Boy Scout and Venture Crew leader for 11 years. An avid student of martial arts since childhood, studying in both the U.S. and Japan, he holds a black belt in Mushinoto JuJutsu and has been a volunteer teaching martial arts and self-defense classes at veteran centers and county senior centers. He is a husband, father and grandfather. Steve is the author of the book Fight Back Self Defense for Seniors and Everybody Else. He currently supports Rally Against Parkinson’s (RAP), helping to bring support to people with Parkinson’s and their caregivers.
Helene Dubay, Marketing Advisory Board
Helene Dubay, OTR/L has committed her life to helping others. She is a registered occupational therapist and driving rehabilitation specialist, currently specializing in working with disabled transitional-age youth interested in learning to drive. As an OT, Helene has 40+ years of experience working with people \ from birth to death, including inpatient, outpatient, nursing homes, home health and vocational rehabilitation settings, as well as being adjunct faculty for Towson University in the Occupational Therapy and Occupational Science Department. She has presented at the Maryland Rehabilitation Conference, Maryland Occupational Therapy Conference and EXPO for Transitional Youth.
Her mission of serving began as a teenager growing up in rural Wisconsin through her school, church and 4-H, continuing into college where she was president of her dorm and student OT organization. Additional volunteer endeavors have included being a Big Sister through Big Brothers & Sisters, scholarship chair for the Maryland OT Association, CCD teacher, school volunteer from grades K-12 and Cub Scout Advancement Chair pre- & post-computer interface. Helene has contributed locally as a commissioner on the Commission on Disabilities 2006-2018, being Chair of the EXPO for Transitioning Youth 2008-2018, an interagency collaborative effort to provide resources for youth and their families for life after high school. Since 2009, she has been a medical volunteer and client service team co-facilitator for Volunteers for Medical Engineering (aka VME or V-LINC), a Baltimore-based non-profit serving central Maryland providing customized solutions for people with disabilities.
When not working, Helene enjoys spending time with her family, supporting the local arts community, cooking, reading, traveling and all things quilting!
Sally Rech, Volunteer Coordinator
A registered nurse, Sally is a care partner for her husband, Steve, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2016. She recognized the symptoms of PD and encouraged him to seek help early in the progression. She sees it as only natural for her to go to the gym with him and to all doctor’s appointments, if not just to be a second set of ears, then for the support and involvement a care partner can provide. They are in this together, so they regularly attend Parkinson’s events, and work with various volunteer efforts in the PD community.
Recently retired, Sally spent the last 20 years of her nursing career working with hospice patients and their families. She has expertise in home health care and surgical medicine. Sally says working with these patients broadened her horizons. The experience helped her to realize the importance of family and friends in a person’s health care and the impact of relationships on the patient’s quality of life. Family and friends need to participate in the everyday living, too, she says.
Sally earned her RN degree from Church Home and Hospital and she holds a bachelor of science degree from Johns Hopkins University.
In addition to her PD efforts, Sally likes to cook, garden and be outdoors just enjoying life.
Daniel Dubay, Treasurer
Daniel P. Dubay is the treasurer for Rally Against Parkinson’s Harford. A Maine native, Dan relocated to Maryland in 1976 to attend St.Mary’s Seminary and University, where he completed a bachelor of arts in Theology in 1980. Meanwhile, he met Helene Nelson, and they were married in 1978. A year later, Dan began a career with the Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) with the State of MD, an organization devoted to assisting individuals with disabilities. The primary goal of DORS is to provide services to enable individuals with disabilities to obtain or retain competitive employment. Before his retirement in 2012, Dan served in various capacities at DORS, including as a field counselor, disability claims examiner, trainer and as a staff specialist coordinating and managing statewide needs for individuals needing home modifications, vehicle modifications and computer training.
Dan and Helene have three grown sons. The family enjoys traveling together, and Dan also enjoys woodworking, home fix-up, cooking — especially smoking foods for barbecue — reading and hanging out with their dog Bingo. Dan was active in Boy Scouts when his sons were younger, and also enjoyed camping.
Since 2013, Dan has learned to create decorative bird carvings. He assists at carving classes at a local Senior Center, and he creates carvings for family and friends. He also donates them to RAP for fundraising events.
Lisa Baldino, Marketing Director
Lisa Baldino is a strategic marketer and professional writer. Her company, Turn of Phrase LLC, has created brand images and marketing programs for local banks, custom builders and warehousers. She is a contributing writer for I95 Business magazine and the Baltimore Sun Special Sections. She writes website content, mission statements, brochures, press materials, broadcast scripts and speeches. She also coaches executive speakers and has her own professional and personal speaking platforms designed to inspire and educate audiences.
Lisa’s professional background includes 12 years at Sony Electronics Inc. handling marketing and communications for consumer display products, professional broadcast products and distance learning packages. In addition, she gained agency and client experience at top Pittsburgh and New York shops working on world-renowned brand names. Diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease at age 44, Lisa has a special affinity for the goals of Rally Against Parkinson’s. Rock Steady Boxing is part of her weekly fitness routine, along with dance, weight training and speed walking with her Lab/Golden Retriever, Sadie. Lisa and her husband, Greg, have two children, Ryan, age 20, and Sara, age 17. Lisa has also served as the committee chairperson of the University of Maryland Medical Center’s Within Our Reach Parkinson’s symposium for the last five years, which touches the lives of hundreds of PD attendees each year.
Joel Eissinger, Board Member
Joel retired from the United States Marine Corps in 2001. He then had a second career as a Federal Worker for the United States Marine Corps retiring in 2014.
Joel has more than 41 years of documented success leading and managing organizations varying in size and diversity. His expertise spans executive management, project management, personnel management, financial management, educational development and administration.
Ken Rankin, Fundraising Director
Ken is a RAP board member and leads the group’s fundraising activities. Originally from Southern Illinois, Ken is a 30-year resident of Harford County.
A close friend with Parkinson’s raised his awareness of the disease and its impact on millions of people in the US. The information prompted Ken to become involved in RAP. Ken has organized multiple fundraising events for RAP including Rock and Roll Bingo, RAP Bull Roast and Music on Main St.
Ken is married and has two children.
Ron Myers, Director Corporate Sponsorships and Partnerships
Ron graduated from Towson University with a Bachelor of Science and Loyola University with an MBA.
Ron has held various management positions in Material Management and Program Management with leading Aerospace and Defense Corporations throughout his 40 years of employment. At present he serves on the board of St. Joseph Elementary School, St. Francis Xavier Church Facilities and Rally Against Parkinson’s (RAP).