SALEM -- Bowling balls were flying all over the state of Oregon on Sunday, to raise money for Brian Grant's foundation to fight Parkinson's disease.
Former Trail Blazer Brian Grant was first diagnosed with the disease two years ago, at just 37 years of age. It was a devestating blow to an NBA star who always knew how to fix ailments. "You hurt your knee, you get your knee fixed," said Grant. "You hurt your shoulder, you get it repaired, but now it's your head and there's no fix for it, It's like being in a battle you're not going to win, but you still have to fight the good fight."
Grant said he believes the best way to fight Parkinson's is to raise awareness and money for better treatments and eventually a cure.
Bill Oetken who owns Kellogg Bowl in Milwaukee met Brian last fall on an elk hunting trip in Eastern Oregon. He decided his bowling friends all across the state could help Brian raise money for his foundation with a fun one day event.
The "Bowl 4 Brian" event was born.
"Bowlers love to help with important causes," said Oetken. "Brian is probably one of the nicest guys around, so why wouldn't I help him?" So, bowlers at alleys all across Oregon held special "Bowl 4 Brian" events Sunday, raising more than $10,000.
During Brian's 12-year NBA career, he was always a strong leader, but he said he felt lost when he first learned he had Parkinson's disease. Within a few days Michael J. Fox called Brian and gave him words of inspiration and encouragement.
Brian said boxing legend Muhammad Ali and his family have also helped point him in the right direction, along with many local people suffering from the disease and the depression that sometimes accompanies it.
"There are a lot of people out there struggling with Parkinson's that don't have a platform or voice to be able to reach people and God has blessed me with that, so the disease has helped fulfill my life in that way," said Brian.
On August 1st, Ali and Fox and many other legendary celebrities will join Brian at the Rose Garden for his "Shake It Till We Make It" fundraiser which will benefit the Micheal J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's research. On August 2nd, Brian will hold a celebrity golf tournament at Pumpkin Ridge.
"Once I was diagnosed, the door just opened up and I couldn't believe how many people that I actually knew had Parkinson's, this past year has been very good for me putting together these fundraisers," said Brian. Now he's focusing on healthy living and staying positive in the face of a devastating disease.