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Press Releases

Bal du Printemps Pays Tribute to Philanthropists

On May 12, nearly 300 guests gathered for PDF’s annual gala, Bal du Printemps, at New York City’s Pierre Hotel, to support Parkinson’s disease (PD) research. The evening honored two long-time friends of PDF and was a festive tribute to the special significance of music as a healing and creative force for people living with Parkinson’s disease.

John and Margo Catsimatidis and their children, John, Jr. and Andrea, were presented with the Page and William Black Family Philanthropy Award, in recognition of their years of generosity and leadership at PDF — including Mrs. Catsimatidis’ work on PDF’s Board of Directors and instrumental role in Bal du Printemps.

They were introduced, via video, by their close friend, former President William Jefferson Clinton, who spoke about the family’s commitment to bettering their community.  Later in the evening, Robert “Bob” Benjamin and The Light of Day Foundation were awarded with the Page and William Black Humanitarian Award.  Mr. Benjamin was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1996 at the age of 38, and shortly thereafter, founded Light of Day. In the past ten years, Light of Day has held concerts in eleven countries, welcoming special guests such as Bruce Springsteen, and raising $1 million for Parkinson’s organizations, including PDF.

Musical performances included those by Willie Nile, Jesse Malin and Dawne Allyne.  A special display of panels from the Parkinson’s Quilt Project highlighted personal reflections from people with Parkinson’s about the meaning of music in their lives.

As PDF Executive Director Robin Elliott noted, “Both the Catsimatidis family and Bob Benjamin have been long-time partners in the cause and have provided inspiration to others in the community through their philanthropic efforts. We are proud to say that this year we honor not just generous supporters, but true friends.”

PDF thanks this year’s gala leadership for making this event possible: Honorary Co-Chairs Page Morton Black, Amy Goldman and Judith Sulzberger, M.D.; Gala Co-Chairs Jill Taub Drury, Stephanie Goldman-Pittel, Stevi Gurkoff, Karen Burke Goulandris, M.D., Ph.D., Isobel Robins Konecky, and Arlene Levine; Corporate Co-Chairs John K. Castle, Stephen M. Ackerman, Alan C. Greenberg and Howard Dewitt Morgan; and Master of Ceremonies, Ernie Anastos, news anchor for Fox 5 News.

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 Parkinson's Disease Foundation
The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation is a leading national presence in Parkinson’s disease research, education and public advocacy.  Created by William Black, the founder of Chock full o’Nuts, a successful New York coffee and restaurant business, PDF was the first national not-for-profit organization to focus on Parkinson’s disease.  PDF is working for 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 educational programs and support services.  Since its founding in 1957, PDF has funded over $80 million worth of scientific research in Parkinson’s disease, supporting the work of leading scientists throughout the world.

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Source Date: May 28 2010