PORTLAND, Ore. -- An art teacher at Portland’s Franklin High School took on her most challenging project yet: creating a six-foot statue of a raccoon.

“This is Parky,” said Carrie Berning. "I want him to help make people aware of Parkinson’s."

Carrie’s dad was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease five years ago.

“I’m grateful my progression has been slow and I’m so touched by my daughter’s support,” said Dwight Berning.

Carrie created the statue at the request of the World Parkinson’s Coalition.

“The 4th World Congress for researchers, doctors and patients is in Portland this September, and organizers wanted Parky to welcome attendees,” she explained.

Students from the Cosplay Club at Franklin helped with the five-month project using butcher paper, tape, glue, and a diaper box for the head and yards of fur.

“Parky” became the mascot for Parkinson’s after a Canadian attorney used a cardboard version like “Flat Stanley” and posted pictures of the character traveling the world.

“Raccoons are adaptable and we too have to be adaptable when dealing with the disease,” said Dan Baker of the World Parkinson Coalition.

“I hope Parky reminds people to have a sense of humor in dealing with what happens,” concluded Dwight Berning. "He’s a reminder to make the best of it until the end.”

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