APDA teams with All Elite Wrestling for Parkinson’s awareness – Brendan Higgins

By Brendan Higgins – contributing writer

On Thursday, April 6th, the American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA), teamed with All Elite Wrestling (AEW) for an event to benefit Parkinson’s awareness. The event was held at the Courthouse Center for the Arts in West Kingstown.

Many of the stars of AEW were in attendance including, WWE Hall of Famer Mark Henry, Ethan Page, Athena, Jerry Lynn, Aubrey Edwards and Luther. In addition, a special Q&A was held with Tony Schiavone and Dean Malenko, who is living with Parkinson’s. A silent auction was also held. This allowed the guests of the event to bid on wrestling memorabilia. The items on the auction block included four ringside tickets to Battle of the Belts VI. That event was held at the Ryan Center on Friday night.

The entire event was unique on many levels. It gave fans the opportunity to mingle with some of their favorite wrestlers. It also helped raise money for the Rhode Island chapter of the APDA. During his prime, Malenko was widely considered to be one of the best wrestlers in the world. Today he is a mentor and coach to the AEW roster. During the Q&A he was open and honest about living with Parkinson’s. He incorporated plenty of humor and kept everyone listening intently as he took a stroll down memory lane. He shared stories from his career that fans might not ordinarily hear. In addition, he spoke frankly about what his life is like today. It was quite obvious to all in attendance that Schiavone and Malenko share a bond and close friendship.

AEW is active in every community they visit during their tours around the country. The program is called AEW Together. In attendance at the event was Amanda Huber from the AEW outreach team. Also in attendance was Mariann Almonte. She is the Executive Director of the Courthouse Center for the Arts. Almonte did her usual great job hosting the event. She has organized countless charity events in this historic venue.

President of the Rhode Island chapter of APDA, Jeff Sullivan, was thrilled to team with AEW. He said, “This is a big night for us. We are so grateful to everyone at AEW. Especially to Dean Malenko and all the wrestlers who took the time to come out and support our event.”

For more information on the Rhode Island chapter of the American Parkinson Disease Association visit their website at


Brendan Higgins, writer and author, RIPTA bus driver, former professional wrestler (Knuckles Nelson), and North Kingstown resident.

We welcome Brendan as a contributing writer to RINewsToday.

To read a story about Brendan, from our sports department, go to:

To read all stories by Brendan, here, go to:

Higgins is the author of “Waking Up: From the Wrestling Ring to the Yoga Mat