by LIZ ONUFER | photos by Zeena Gregg Photography

Giving Over Getting

While most Sweet 16 birthday parties have gifts typical for teenage girl life, Talia Putman made a different request of her friends and family – donations to the Parkinson’s Association of San Diego (PASD). Talia intimately knows the impact of the disease and how much PASD helps thousands of people across San Diego.

Talia first learned about PASD from her grandmother’s neurologist at Scripps Clinic Torrey Pines. “My grandmother lost her battle with Parkinson’s disease on February 7, 2016,” Talia shared. “This disease affected my family so much, and I know so many other families in America are going through the same thing we did,” she said. “I really just wanted to help as much as I can because I know what they are going through.”

student_putman2When Talia’s birthday came on April 1, 2017, she realized it was a great opportunity to support others in the same situation. Her birthday party invitations requested donations to PASD in lieu of gifts. “It meant so much to me to team up with PASD. I mainly did it for my grandmother because she meant the world to me,” she shared. Talia’s party raised $1,265 in donations for PASD.

A junior at Westview High School, Talia is involved in the cheer program, the Fashion Club, and AVID. She shared that AVID is her favorite class because “it has helped me gain more knowledge about different colleges and realistically prepare for it.” Looking ahead, Talia’s top college choice is Chapman University, and she is considering majoring in human services.

Talia’s family is a strong influence in her life. “My mother and grandmother inspire me the most because of how strong and business savvy they are,” she said. Talia appreciates the close family connections she has growing up in Torrey Highlands; most of her extended family lives in Rancho Peñasquitos.

Talia recognized this last year that she can use her family’s experience to help others. “It makes me happy to know that I can help a great cause and my age can’t stop me from doing what is right,” she acknowledged. “I’d like to think that I made a difference and I can influence other people my age to not be afraid to do these types of things.”

Name: Talia Putman (16)
School: Westview High School
Grade: 11
Parents: Barbara and Ronald Putman
Siblings: Jenay Tabuena (26) and Sophia Putman (20)
Favorite Local Spots: Torrey Pines hiking trails, Board & Brew,  and Edwards Mira Mesa