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Parkinson's Gala Honors Award Winning Author and Raises $887,000

On Wednesday, May 14, 2008, the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF) honored outstanding figures in the Parkinson’s community at New York City’s Pierre Hotel at its annual gala, Bal du Printemps, including Oliver Sacks, M.D., F. R.C.P. The event raised a record $887,000 for Parkinson’s research.

Dr. Sacks, in addition to receiving the Isobel Robins Konecky Creativity Award, served as the evening’s guest speaker.Dr. Sacks is well-known as the author of Awakenings, which was later made into an Oscar-nominated film starring Robert De Niro and Robin Williams. He was able to speak with unique knowledge about the evening’s theme, creativity, discussing its therapeutic value for people with Parkinson’s disease (PD). He described his own observations of people with PD whose symptoms greatly improved when they painted or listened to music (in the years before the gold-standard Parkinson’s medication, levodopa, was available). Dr. Sacks is a Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at Columbia University and he is the author of many acclaimed books including, Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain.

Mel and Carol Taub and family, champions of the gala’s focus on creativity, received the Page and William Black Humanitarian Award for their long and devoted service to Parkinson’s science through their support of PDF. Mr. Taub has served on PDF’s Board of Directors since 1998. He and his wife Carol, along with their daughters Stefani Gurkoff and Jill Drury have focused on raising funds for PDF — most notably leading a successful $6 million fund drive to modernize the Research Laboratories for Parkinson’s Disease and Related Disorders at Columbia University Medical Center.

PDF presented its Lifetime Achievement Award to Lewis P. Rowland, M.D., in appreciation of his incredible commitment to PDF and his outstanding leadership in the science and practice of neurology at Columbia University. As Chair of the Department of Neurology for more than 25 years, Dr. Rowland played a major role in building the department into the powerhouse it is today. Dr. Rowland was also the person who recruited to Columbia Dr. Stanley Fahn, who is the world’s leading figure in Parkinson’s science and clinical practice.

Bal du Printemps included cocktails, dinner, dancing and a silent auction and welcomed 450 guests. Its proceeds will be used to fund research to find a cure and treatments for Parkinson’s disease.

About Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder that affects nearly one million people in the US. Although promising research is being conducted, there is currently no cure for Parkinson’s.

About the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF)

The Parkinson's Disease Foundation (PDF) is a leading national presence in Parkinson's disease research, education and public advocacy. We are working for the nearly one million people in the US living with Parkinson’s by funding promising scientific research and supporting people with Parkinson’s, their families and caregivers through education programs and support services. Since its founding in 1957, PDF has funded over $70 million worth of scientific research in Parkinson’s disease, supporting the work of leading scientists throughout the world.

About Bal du Printemps

Bal du Printemps, the annual gala of the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF), is held at New York City’s Pierre Hotel. The event gathers philanthropic leaders to raise funds for PDF’s research programs and to honor outstanding members of the community for their work in the fight against Parkinson’s. This year’s leadership included Gala Chairs Page Morton Black, Amy Goldman and Judith Sulzberger, Dinner Chair John Connolly, Ed.D., and Master of Ceremonies Len Berman.

Source Date: May 16 2008