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Around & About the Community

Spring Festivities Raise $800,000 for Parkinson’s Research

The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation’s (PDF’s) two recent New York City-based events — Bal du Printemps and Celebrate Spring — raised $800,000 to support Parkinson’s disease (PD) research.  The success, in light of a challenging economic atmosphere, has been attributed in large part to PDF’s generous volunteers, who remain steadfast in their commitment to fighting Parkinson’s.

Bal du Printemps Celebrates Philanthropists and Movement

On May 12, PDF welcomed over 300 guests to its annual gala, Bal du Printemps, at New York City’s Pierre Hotel, raising over $725,000 for Parkinson’s research.  Themed a ‘Celebration of Movement,’ the event honored longtime PDF supporters, Evan and Sandra Stern and family.

The evening began with remarks by David Leventhal, Founding Teacher of the Mark Morris Group’s Dance for Parkinson’s Program.  He spoke about the program’s exploration of the power of dance to alleviate the movement-related symptoms of Parkinson’s.  He noted, “As one of our Brooklyn participants says, ‘When I’m in dance class, I don’t have Parkinson’s’…It’s a wonder that we don’t have more research about what actually happens to us when we dance…Of course, PDF is at the forefront of exploring this kind of research…the answers will no doubt provide rich benefits for all of us, but particularly for people with PD.”

The Stern family was then presented with the 2009 Page and William Black Humanitarian Award.  Ms. Stern, a member of PDF’s Board of Directors, along with her husband Evan and their children — Mark, Russell, Doug, Kyle and Anna — have long been generous contributors to PDF’s fundraising efforts and consistent champions of its mission. 

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, Karen Burke Goulandris, M.D., Ph.D., Isobel Robins Konecky and Arlene Levine; Dinner Co-Chairs, Margo Catsimatidis and Stephanie Goldman-Pittel; Master of Ceremonies, Len Berman; and the Drury Design Group.

Bal du Printemps

Stephanie Goldman-Pittel (left) and Margo Catsimadtidis (second from left) present the Page and William Black Humanitarian Award to Sandra and Evan Stern.

Young New Yorkers Celebrate Spring

On April 23, more than 425 guests joined PDF and the Young New Yorkers for the Fight Against Parkinson’s committee for the second annual Celebrate Spring event in New York City. 

Guests enjoyed cocktails, dancing and clear views of the Manhattan skyline from the rooftop of Hudson Terrace.  Co-Chairs G. Pennington Egbert III, Missy Egbert Sheehan and Georgina B. Schaeffer led the event for the second year in a row, along with their committee, a group of nearly 100 New Yorkers dedicated to advancing a cure for Parkinson’s.

The co-chairs, whose fathers both lived with Parkinson’s, noted that their work over the past two years has involved more than raising funds for research.  “The experience of having a loved one with Parkinson’s is what brought our group together and Celebrate Spring makes us realize just how many lives are touched by this disease,” noted Mr. Egbert.

The event raised $75,000, which was directed to a research program identified by Lucien Côté, M.D., a Parkinson’s specialist at Columbia University.  PDF thanks its co-chairs and the Young New Yorkers for the Fight Against Parkinson’s committee for their support of this event.

Celebrate Spring

Celebrate Spring leadership and sponsors (left to right): William B. Sheehan, G. Pennington Egbert III, Missy Egbert Sheehan, Georgina B. Schaeffer, Greg Romero and John Romero. 

PDF Pacers Join the Annual Unity Walk 

The 15th Annual Parkinson’s Unity Walk took place on April 25 in New York City’s Central Park, raising over $1.5 million for Parkinson’s disease (PD) research.

Hours before the Walk began, the Park filled with thousands of people with Parkinson’s, their families and friends — many of whom formed “teams” to support a loved one.  They wore festive team t-shirts and carried signs in support of the fight for the cure for PD. 

Among the crowd was PDF’s own team — the “PDF Pacers” — made up of staff members, board members and representatives of the People with Parkinson’s Advisory Council (PPAC) and the Parkinson Pipeline Project.  Led by Captain Bruce Talbot, the Pacers donned green and gold shirts bearing the PDF tulip — a symbol of hope — and joined the two mile walk.

The Pacers raised more than $8,000, one-third of which was raised by a single PPAC member, Joanna Steichen.  All proceeds from the Unity Walk are directed to the research programs of seven Parkinson’s organizations, including PDF. 

Team captain Talbot said of the event, “I’ve been attending the Unity Walk for about a dozen years, missing it only once.  It gives me enough inspiration to stay upbeat and make it until the next year.  Despite the economy, our team total represents a 60 percent increase over last year’s.  It’s clear people really want a cure ...as soon as possible.”

Unity Walk 2009

 Two enthusiastic members of the PDF Pacers Team were Fia Talbot and Judith Sutphen, daughter and wife of PPAC member and team Captain Bruce Talbot.

Award Presented to DBS Pioneer

On April 27, PDF partnered with the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) at AAN’s Annual meeting in Seattle, WA to sponsor the 9th Annual Academy Movement Disorders Research Award. 

This award is presented to a scientist who best represents the ideals of involvement in scientific research, clinical care of patients and training of younger colleagues.  This year, it was given to Mahlon R. DeLong, M.D., a pioneer of the surgical technical technique known as deep brain stimulation (DBS).

Dr. DeLong is currently Professor of Neurology at Emory University.  In 2007, he was the recipient of PDF’s 50th Anniversary Award for Exemplary Contributions to the Advancement of Parkinson's Science.

Dr. DeLong

Dr. Mahlon DeLong (second from left) following his lecture at AAN. He is pictures with Cynthia Comella, M.D., Chair of the selection committee for the lecture; Robin Elliott, PDF Executive Director; Stanley Fahn, M.D., PDF Scientific Director; and Lewis P. Rowland, M.D., PDF President.