Brian Grant Foundation kicks off its annual Pints for Parkinson’s event selling beer passports to benefit Parkinson’s programs.

Beer lovers, rejoice! It’s that time of year to throw back a few pints in the name of the Brian Grant Foundation (BGF).

More than 200 people streamed into Portland, Oregon’s Urban Studio on Wednesday, March 28, for the third-annual Pints for Parkinson’s kickoff party.

The yearly event sells $25 Pints for Parkinson’s “passports” – good for 10 free brews at more than 30 participating bars, restaurants and breweries in Portland and Bend, Oregon., $20 of every $25 passport goes directly to BGF to support Parkinson’s disease programs.

“If you’ve ever wanted to help out BGF in any way, this is a cool way to do it,” said Brian Grant. “Running the Foundation can be stressful at times, so this is a fun way to cut loose and hopefully meet more people who are interested in what we’re doing.”

Participants can get their passports stamped at each location for a free pint of their choice of beer throughout the month of April, which happens to be Parkinson’s Awareness Month.

Ain’t no party like a BGF party

Only in recent decades has Parkinson’s come to the forefront of the public’s awareness, due in part to high-profile celebrities like Michael J. Fox, Brian Grant and the late Muhammad Ali having the courage to shed light on this debilitating disease.

“Unless someone in your family has Parkinson’s or you’re suffering from it yourself, people may not know what this disease is or how it affects you,” Grant says. “We hope events like Pints for Parkinson’s will not only encourage people to buy passports, but also draw them to the BGF website to check out our other programs.”

BGF stands apart from other Parkinson’s nonprofits by focusing on the benefits of fitness and nutrition, and encouraging folks to stay active and social to help stave off disease symptoms.

The organization regularly hosts cooking classes, bowling and golf outings, and even created a social media platform called the Power Through Project that not only helps people locate Parkinson’s-friendly fitness classes in their communities, but also rewards them for trying out new exercises and socializing with other Parkinson’s patients.

“The thing about the Parkinson’s community is that people are out there hiding for all kinds of reasons,” Grant says. “Maybe they don’t want their employer to know they have Parkinson’s or even their family members to know. We hope that by hosting events like these, people will come out, have a pint or two, and meet others with Parkinson’s in a place where they can feel safe and accepted.”

“Part of our mission is encouraging people to get out and socialize, and we can’t think of a better way to do that than to throw a party,” he adds.

And what a party it was. Given Portland’s position as one of the biggest, baddest beer cities of the world, there was no shortage of exotic brews to peruse. Grant’s personal favorite? “IPA Amber Ale… but it varies sometimes.”

Attendees noshed on sliders, fingerling potatoes and ridiculous amounts of cheese as they tried their luck at an arcade-style basketball game – vowing to beat Grant’s score – while the Portland Trailblazers vs. Memphis Grizzlies game played on the big screens overhead. The Trailblazers lost that game 103 to 108, but we won’t talk about that.

Missed the Pints for Parkinson’s kickoff party? No worries. You can still get a passport online or at any of these participating locations.

By Kathryn Jones