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Around & About the Community

Bal du Printemps Pays Tribute to Philanthropists and the Power of Music

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.

Catsimatidis Family

The Catsimatidis family - John, Andrea, Margo and John, Jr. - is presented
with the Page and William Black Family Philanthropy Award by TV personalities
Nick Gregory (far left) and Ernie Anastos (far right).

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.

PDF Executive Director Robin Elliott and Bob Benjamin

PDF Executive Director Robin Elliott presents Bob Benjamin with a personalized
award, a painting created for him by Cindy DeLuz, a person living with PD who
who is a participant in PDF's Creativity and Parkinson's Project.

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 also 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.

* * *

Celebrate Spring Engages Young New Yorkers in the Cause

Celebrate Spring Co-Chairs

Celebrate Spring Co-Chairs, Missy Egbert Sheehan, G. Pennington
Egbert III and Georgina Schaeffer, led the charge to involve young
New Yorkers in PDF's work.

On April 29, nearly 300 guests joined PDF and the Young New Yorkers for the Fight Against Parkinson’s committee for Celebrate Spring at Slate, in New York City. 

For the third year, co-chairs G. Pennington Egbert III, Missy Egbert Sheehan and Georgina B. Schaeffer, whose fathers both lived with Parkinson’s disease, led the event.  They did so with the help of a group of nearly 100 New Yorkers also dedicated to advancing a cure for Parkinson’s.

The co-chairs, now well-seasoned event leaders, emphasized the importance of Celebrate Spring in engaging people of all ages in the Parkinson’s cause.  As Mr. Egbert said, “It is imperative to hold events like Celebrate Spring, to reach out to a younger generation and let them know there are ways that they too, can help in the fight against PD.”

The event raised funds for 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 continued support of this event.

* * *

PDF Pacers Participate in Annual Walk

PPAC at the Parkinson's Unity Walk

Members of PPAC - Team Captain Joanna Steichen, David Eger, Carey
Christensen, Ann Wasson and Rhona Johnson - greeted walkers at the
PDF booth.

On April 24, members of the Parkinson’s community gathered for the 16th Annual Parkinson’s Unity Walk in New York City’s Central Park, raising over $1.4 million for research.

By early morning, the Park was filled with thousands of people with Parkinson’s, their families and friends.  The crowd strolled through “Find a Cure Boulevard,” stopping by PDF’s booth for visors, educational materials and information on the Parkinson’s Quilt Project, before making their way to the two-mile walk.  Many walkers carried festive signs in honor of loved ones and wore the award-winning, Fight to Win t-shirt, designed by Heather Hinrichsen. 

This year, PDF’s team, the “PDF Pacers,” made up of staff members, board members and members of the People with Parkinson’s Advisory Council (PPAC), was led by PPAC member Joanna Steichen.  The PDF Pacers raised more than $4,000.  Ms. Steichen said the team, "represented the kind of cooperation and unity of purpose that the Parkinson’s Unity Walk encourages."

Proceeds from the Walk are directed to the research programs of seven PD organizations, including PDF.

The PDF Pacers would like to thank former team captain Bruce Talbot, for the support and inspiration he provided to the team.

* * *

Brain Imaging Scientist Honored

AAN Meeting

Dr. Eidelberg (second from left) receives his award from AAN Meeting
Subcommittee Chair, Cynthia Comella, M.D. They are joined by PDF
Executive Director Robin Elliott and James Beck, Ph.D.

On April 14, at the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) annual meeting in Toronto, David Eidelberg, M.D., became the 10th recipient of the PDF-AAN Movement Disorder Research Award.  This award is presented to a scientist who represents the ideals of involvement in research, clinical care and training of younger colleagues. 

Best known for his work with neuroimaging, Dr. Eidelberg has been hailed as an innovative thinker who has advanced our understanding of Parkinson’s.  In his most recent study, using a neuroimaging method called the FDG-PET scan, he and his colleagues were able to accurately differentiate people living with classic PD from those living with related disorders, such as progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and multiple system atrophy (MSA).  This finding sheds light on potential tools for properly assessing difficult diagnoses of Parkinson’s.

Dr. Eidelberg is currently a Professor of Neurology at New York University School of Medicine and Director of the Center of Neurosciences at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research and of the Movement Disorders and Functional Neuroimaging Center at North Shore LIJ Health Systems. 

Would you like to learn more about Dr. Eidelberg’s work?  Read the transcript of Dr. Beck’s interview with him in Toronto.