13-year-old redesigns Parkinson’s tulip, the international symbol of the condition

Global update

Author: Parkinson's Life editorsPublished: 24 March 2016

Parkinson's LifePrep: Parkinson's LifeCook: Parkinson's LifeServes:

T-shirt competition lead

A thirteen-year-old has won the annual Parkinson’s Disease Foundation kid’s T-shirt design competition. This year’s winner is Lea Dempsey of Princeton, New Jersey, US, whose design features two ethnically diverse people holding hands entwined by the Parkinson’s tulip.

The tulip has been international symbol since 1980 when Dutch horticulturalist with Parkinson’s, J W S Van der Wereld, named a new tulip after Dr James Parkinson.

The T-shirt design contest, which is open to all five- to 15-year-olds, is run annually by the US-based Parkinson’s Disease Foundation. The slogan for 2016 is ‘Join the Team Ending Parkinson’s’.

Lea’s design was one of 20 designs entered into the competition and her winning artwork was chosen by the general public in an online vote.

Lea said: “My design is of two people holding hands with the Foundation’s yellow tulip holding them together. It is important to me to raise awareness about Parkinson’s in memory of my grandfather who lived with this disease.”

T-shirt Lea

Lea and her winning T-shirt design

“My grandfather was the kind of person that would always help someone in need. He was a very artistic man and I got my inspiration from him. I think he would be proud. This is the first time I’m putting my art out there and I’m proud to see my design help raise awareness of Parkinson’s disease,” Lea added.

Robin Anthony Elliott, president of the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, said: “The diverse members of the PDF team all share one thing – a commitment to ending Parkinson’s. Through her design, Ms. Dempsey illustrates this commitment beautifully, reminding us that children and young adults are very important members of this team.”

The T-shirt designed by Lea is now available for pre-order from the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation in time for April, Parkinson’s Awareness Month.

Lea Dempsey t-shirt competition winner
Previous winning designs  are also available from the Foundation’s online shop.

Pre-order the t-shirt featuring Lea’s design, available in both child and adult sizes, from PDF’s e-store here

Go Back

Share this story


Related articles


Resources & Tools

Parkinson’s podcast: losing our minds – cognition and PD

Fourth chat show examines psychological and cognitive problems

Talking about Parkinson’s disease with young children has never been easy. But, here are five books to help you explain the condition in a more accessible way to the younger ones in your family

Resources & Tools

5 free books to help explain Parkinson’s to children and teens

How to talk to young children about Parkinson’s disease

Julie Walker, Andy Johnson, Daniel Abbott, Emma Middleton and Gailie Pollock


A musical exploring young onset Parkinson’s

Writer Julie Walker shares her top tips for people living with young onset