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Around & About the Community

Parkinson's Gala Celebrates Philanthropy and Science

A smartly-dressed group gathered on May 19 at New York City's Pierre Hotel for the Parkinson's Disease Foundation's (PDF) annual gala, Bal du Printemps, and finished the evening by raising a net of more than $500,000 - a record for this fundraiser - for PDF's research programs. The honorees were two outstanding figures in the Parkinson's community: Page Morton Black, long-time Chairman of the PDF Board of Directors, and Lucien Côté, M.D., beloved PD physician.

Gala Dinner Chair Judith Sulzberger, M.D., and Master of Ceremonies Len Berman set the tone for a remarkable evening as they regaled guests with charming stories of their involvement with PDF, and especially their friendships with Mrs. Black. Mrs. Black accepted PDF's Lifetime Achievement Award from Lewis P. Rowland, M.D., President of the PDF Board of Directors, who introduced her as the "heart and soul of the organization." She then sang the touching song "A Little Bit of Giving," written by composer Ed Tone (who was present in the audience), and brought everyone to their feet with applause.

Mrs. Black has worked tirelessly for more than 40 years to build support for PDF and its efforts to find the causes of and a cure for Parkinson's. Her late husband, Mr. William Black, the creator of the Chock Full o' Nuts Corporation, founded PDF in 1957. Among her contributions have been her leadership in conceptualizing the gala and in involving the philanthropic leaders of the community who ensure its success.

As guests enjoyed the atmosphere in the elegant ballroom, PDF Scientific Director Stanley Fahn, M.D., presented Dr. Lucien Côté, Professor of Neurology at Columbia University Medical Center, with the Page and William Black Humanitarian Award. In introducing Dr. Côté, Dr. Fahn announced the establishment of The Lucien J. Côté Parkinson's Disease Research Fund, which will be used to support promising scientific endeavors in Parkinson's. Dr. Côté, who has served the Columbia University community as both a researcher and clinician since 1958, enlightened guests with tales of his first encounter with William Black and his subsequent involvement with PDF.

PDF thanks all who attended the event and all who contributed to its success. In particular, we thank Margo Catsimatidis, Karen Burke Goulandris, M.D., Ph.D. and Isobel Robins Konecky, this year's Gala Chairs; and John K. Castle, John A. Catsimatidis and Sy Syms, our Corporate Chairs. The hard work of these individuals, along with their generosity and spirit, are what ensure the success of the evening. Be sure to mark your calendars for next year's gala on Wednesday, May 17, 2006.

Arizona Conference for Young-Onset Draws Hundreds

Some 300 people with young-onset Parkinson's gathered from July 14-16 in Phoenix, Arizona, for the third annual National Parkinson Foundation/Young-Onset Parkinson Network Conference, entitled "Turn up the Heat in the Fight Against Parkinson Disease." The meeting was convened to address the unique needs of younger people and their families who live with Parkinson's and was run with the substantial assistance of a volunteer committee made up entirely of people who live with young-onset PD.

After being warmly welcomed on the first night with an Artisan Exhibit showcasing the artwork of people with Parkinson's, attendees enjoyed discussions on topics ranging from employment and disability to managing relationships and Parkinson's disease. Equally valuable for participants was the opportunity to meet, network and find support and advice from other people who were diagnosed early with PD.

The conference was sponsored by the National Parkinson Foundation and St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, home of the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Research Center and Barrow Neurological Institute. For more information, or to view a webcast of the general sessions from the conference, visit

WE MOVE Launches Life in Motion Awareness Campaign

The Parkinson's Disease Foundation is pleased to join Life in Motion, a nation-wide awareness campaign led by WE MOVE (the organization that is best-known for its pioneering work in professional education in Parkinson's). The campaign is designed to raise awareness about movement disorders and improve the quality of care for the estimated 40 million Americans who live with these disorders, including PD.

Some 50 patient advocacy organizations, foundations and professional societies have joined a coalition in support of Life in Motion. Coalition members are committed to raising awareness about movement disorders, emphasizing the importance of early and accurate diagnosis and available treatment options.

Life in Motion was launched at the American Academy of Neurology meeting in Miami on April 11. The campaign will continue through 2005 and will include media outreach, public service announcements and community outreach highlighting real stories of people living with movement disorders. One off-shoot of the campaign is expected to be the initiation of a Movement Disorders Awareness Month for October.

Healthcare professionals and people living with movement disorders are encouraged to visit the Life in Motion Resource Center at Here they will find information and support resources including educational brochures, fact sheets, a database of national movement disorder advocacy groups and foundations and much more!

To learn more, please visit the Life in Motion website or call the toll-free number (866) 546-3136. Life in Motion is funded by an unrestricted educational grant from Allergan, Inc.

PDF Publishes New Edition of Surgical Booklet

Deep Brain Stimulation for Parkinson's Disease is designed to help a person with Parkinson's learn more about DBS, the most important therapeutic advance in Parkinson's since levodopa. The booklet provides an in-depth review of DBS, information on the surgical process, the best candidates for the operation, what to expect, and much more! This publication, written by Dr. Blair Ford of Columbia University, can help you find out more about DBS and whether it may be appropriate for you or someone close to you.

To order your copy of Deep Brain Stimulation for Parkinson's Disease, contact PDF at (800) 457-6676 or visit the publications section of our website at

PD Community Mourns Losses

The Parkinson's Disease Foundation expresses its sadness at the passing of three beloved friends and leaders of the Parkinson's community.

Jack Simmonds

Jack Simmonds, a retired foreign service officer, died in a sailing accident on the Potomac River on April 28. As the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Parkinson Foundation of the National Capital Area (PFNCA), Jack was a well-known figure in Washington, DC. He is remembered by friends as an intelligent, caring man with a delightfully playful side. His colleagues at PFNCA credit him with a large role in building the quality and strength of the organization.

Our condolences go out to all of those who knew and loved Jack, a light-hearted, deeply-committed advocate for the Parkinson's community.

Murray Charters

Murray Charters passed away from complications from lung cancer on June 1, while resting in his favorite chair in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Murray became especially well-known in the Parkinson's community for his prodigious accomplishment in gathering, selecting and distributing via email the most recent and relevant news in Parkinson's research. Even as he battled against Parkinson's disease and lung cancer, he continued to maintain the website that he created in 2001, Parkinson's Resources on the WWWeb, which provided a vast list of resources for information on both diseases. In 2004, Murray's work was recognized with the Alan Bonander Humanitarian Award and the Parkinson's Action Network's Annual Award for Outstanding Service to the Parkinson's Community, which now bears his name.

Murray is survived by his wife, Brenda, and his five children. All who knew him will long treasure the memory of a good, dignified, charming man.

Dr. Margaret M. Hoehn

Dr. Margaret M. Hoehn, one of the few women who entered the field of neurology in the 1950s, died on July 16 in Denver, Colorado. While in training with another leader in this field, the late Dr. Melvin D. Yahr at Columbia University, she created the Hoehn & Yahr Scale of Parkinson's Disability.

Dr. Hoehn was known for her dedication to patients. She was of great assistance as a teacher and adviser to the staff of the United Parkinson Foundation, now merged with PDF.

As a member of the Parkinson Study Group (PSG), she worked on numerous therapeutic clinical trials, many which tested drugs that are now used to treat Parkinson's disease. Her expertise will be missed by many in the field of Parkinson's disease research and treatment.