become the second school to join an Young-onset Parkinson's disease
Project 20/20, which is looking to involve 20 Knoxville-area high school
sports teams with Young-onset Parkinson's disease fund-raisers by the year
2020, is the beneficiary of the spring 2012 event.
Pigeon Forge coach Mike Guinn, whose Tigers have been a regular in the Class AA baseball tournament at the regional, sectional and state levels in recent years, is a former physical therapy assistant.
"I have worked with Parkinson's patients and seen what they go through," Guinn said in early November. "This is a worthwhile event for Pigeon Forge supporters to get behind and help raise money for."
Guinn said the fund-raiser will be at Jack A. Parton Field on Monday, April 2 featuring a doubleheader. Grayson County, Ky. will play West-Oak. S.C. in the first game at 3 p.m. before the Tigers take on
Grayson at 5:30 p.m.. Gate proceeds will go to Project 20/20.
Guinn has coached the Tigers since 2008. He has compiled a record of
114-31 at PFHS, after leaving Anderson County with a three-year record of
His replacement at Anderson County, Ben Downs, has scheduled a Project
20/20 fund-raiser as well. Gate proceeds will come from the Mavericks'
game against Johnson City Science Hill at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 28.
Seymour High coach Scott Norman has also signed on to host a fund-raiser at 5 p.m. Thursday, April 5 against Heritage.
Forge, his teams recorded just seven losses each year.
"And if things hold to form - we made the state Final Four in '06 and '09 -
2012 could be another good year," Guinn said.
The Tigers have been knocked out of the Class AA state playoffs the past two seasons by a total of just three runs. The Tigers fell to Christian Academy of Knoxville 3-2 in last season's regional opener as CAK ended up finishing third in the state.
In 2010, PFHS dropped a sectional game 4-2 to Unicoi County. The Tigers swept through regional play in 2009 to reach the eight-team state championship playoffs.
An opening game loss put Pigeon Forge in a hole, but three straight wins found the Tigers in the semi-finals where a loss to eventual champ Dyer County sent the Tigers home with a third-place finish and a No. 2 state ranking. In 2008, the Tigers made it as far as the sectional finals.
The Tigers join the Maryville Rugby Football Club as the second Project 20/20 member.
Project 20/20 was started by former Knoxville Rugby Football Club player Pat Dorwin, who was chosen by his teammates for a rare double as an A side wing and B side fullback for the all-time 30th anniversary (1980-2010) Possum teams.
After retiring from the sport in 2000 at the age of 35, Dorwin was diagnosed three years later with Early-onset Parkinson's disease, a progressive neurological disorder.
"It's certainly not the end of the world, but my life has changed dramatically," says Dorwin. "I had always relied on my speed as an athlete, and suddenly it's gone for the most part."
After working through the beginning of 2005 as an editor with The Mountain Press newspaper in Sevier County, Dorwin "retired" to be a stay-at-home dad in Sevierville to Eli, now 7 years old, and later to AddisonGrace, now 5.
Wanting to raise money to support the study of Parkinson's, he was the driving force behind starting an event involving the baseball team at his former high school, Farragut.
"We got the OK from then-new head coach Matt Buckner, who has led the Admirals to the last two Class AAA state titles, giving Farragut four in a row and eight overall," said Dorwin, the leading hitter for the Admirals' first state title team in 1982. "Coach Buckner was stepping into a difficult spot in trying to replace Tommy Pharr, who moved on to coach Christian Academy of Knoxville in 2010.
"Plus, coach Buckner came over from Bearden, where he had just led the Bulldogs to their first state championship playoff appearance," Dorwin said. "He had no idea who I was, just told me I was part of the Admiral family and he'd do something to get things going."
Buckner offered to donate the gate proceeds from the Admirals' annual Throwback Doubleheader and in the last two years more than $4,000 has been raised for the National Parkinson Foundation.
"Most of the credit - and hard work - was done by Ellen Hubrig of http://www.friendlyfellows.com/ in honor of her father and grandfather, who both had Parkinson's. She has gotten vendors to come out to the games and and secured items for the two silent auctions we hold," says Dorwin. "I am just the unfortunate spokesman."
Dorwin said Project 20/20 is in the process of gaining non-profit status and is working with the American Young Parkinson Disease Association's National Young Onset Center in raising funds.
"We're focusing on helping those who are diagnosed at relatively early age with PD," Dorwin said.
According to AYPD's National Young Onset Center, when someone who is
21-40 years old receives a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease, it is referred to
as "young onset" Parkinson's disease. Although most symptoms are the same
at whatever age PD develops, managing the disease can be particularly
challenging for a younger person and the person's family medically,
psychologically and socially. Roughly 10 percent of those diagnosed with PD
are under the age of 50.
Dorwin's youngest brother, Pete, was the center fielder in 1988 on the first of four Farragut state championship runner-up teams, and Pete was diagnosed with Early-onset PD in 2009 at age 39.
See http://www.farragutpress.com/articles/2010/03/12167.html for a story on the brothers.
Pat Dorwin said you may go to http://www.wbir.com/ and search for Parkinson's and it brings up an interview he did with Live at Five in 2011.
"It's the positive reactions such as I have received from coaches Guinn, Buckner, Downs, Norman and Jay Hawkins, the Maryville Rugby coach, that make the hard work worthwhile," Dorwin said. "So many coaches, athletic directors and school administrators never have the common courtesy to return my e-mails or phone calls, it's very aggravating.
"I don't mind if you don't want to help, but at least have the guts to tell me so," Dorwin said. "I know economic times are tough at schools, so it's really heartening when coaches like those mentioned above react so positively."
Dorwin may be reached at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or 865-363-9014.