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Press Releases

High School Student in CT Inspires Classmates to Fight Parkinsonís Disease

Washington, CT resident Kate DeWitte is on a mission to help other students cope with a loved one's diagnosis of Parkinson's disease. The 18-year-old senior at Shepaug Valley High School has spent the past few months educating other students and raising more than $1,000 to benefit the Parkinson's Disease Foundation (PDF) in honor of her father.

After Ms. DeWitte's father was diagnosed with young onset Parkinson's disease in 2005, she had many questions about the disease and how it impacted their family. Several years later, when the opportunity arose to choose a requisite year-long senior project, Ms. DeWitte saw it as the perfect venue to better educate herself about the disease and make a difference for others.

"When I started to see the progression of Parkinson's disease in my dad, I wished there was another kid just like me who understood what it felt like to go through the same thing. My primary motivation is to be a mentor for others my age and help with their understanding of Parkinson's," says Ms. DeWitte about her ongoing efforts.

To reach that goal, she spent the past year researching Parkinson's and educating her classmates using presentations and awareness billboards. She also hosted creative fundraisers that included the sale of handmade snowflakes in the winter, on-campus Zumba classes and a bake sale.

PDF Executive Director Robin Elliott said, "Ms. DeWitte's passionate work at the Shepaug Valley High School reminds us that the fight against Parkinson's disease comes in all shapes and sizes and that every effort makes a difference. At PDF, we are inspired by her efforts to fund the most promising research and raise awareness in her school community."

To support Ms. DeWitte's fundraising efforts, visit her personal fundraising page at http://support.pdf.org/Kidsagainstpd. For more information, contact PDF at (800) 457-6676, info@pdf.org or www.pdf.org.

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
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 who live with Parkinson's by funding promising scientific research while supporting people living with Parkinson's through educational programs and services. Since its founding in 1957, PDF has dedicated over $96 million to fund the work of leading scientists throughout the world and over $40 million to support national education and advocacy programs.

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Source Date: Apr 26 2013