Meet our Donors
Many of PDF's supporters, including our Board of Directors, have a personal stake in our mission to end Parkinson’s. Read their inspiring stories below.
Isobel Robins Konecky, Board Member
I was just 15 years old when my father Jack was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, and told no medications existed to treat it. The main drug he took for PD? Benadryl.
Sadly, when he was diagnosed, PDF did not yet exist. And he died in 1969 just two years after PDF-funded research facilitated the development of levodopa.
Fortunately, since then PDF has helped to dramatically improve life for people with PD. It has been at the forefront of nearly every scientific advance in Parkinson’s for the past 50 years. But there is still no cure.
We need to keep the momentum going, to propel science forward so no one has to see a parent suffer with this disease ever again. I support PDF because I'm confident that with its support of scientific research, future generations will not have to suffer as my father did.
Constance Woodruff Atwell, Ph.D., Vice Chair, Board of Directors
For me, curing Parkinson’s began as a profession. I spent many years working with the nation’s largest biomedical research agency, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to award billions of dollars in grants for neuroscience research, including for Parkinson’s.
During my time at NIH, I knew of PDF’s reputation for supporting the next generation of scientists. It was the first non-profit to fund specialized training in Parkinson's for neurologists. In fact, PDF remains the largest private funder of movement disorders training in the US — ensuring people with PD have access to expert care. PDF has also supported hundreds of early-career scientists who have gone on to become leaders in the field.
In a time when governmental funding is declining, it is even more critical that organizations such as PDF fill the gap in funding for our nation’s early career Parkinson’s scientists. I donate to PDF because it is a great investment in science, and because I know my dollars support the ambitious scientists who share our goal of ending Parkinson’s.
Penn Egbert, Board Member
I was a teenager when my father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. It came as a shock. After the diagnosis, he asked his neurologist where he could turn to find information and make a difference. The answer? PDF.
As his disease progressed, it changed life for my mom, my sister and me. But even the disease took its toll, my father was committed to working with PDF to end Parkinson's disease and support families affected by it.
After he passed away, it was my turn to continue his legacy of giving back. In recent years, as a member of PDF’s Board of Directors, I have been given the opportunity to do so — by raising money and by having some in how it is spent. I am proud to tell you that 80 percent of PDF funds are spent on research, education and advocacy.
I donate because I believe — just as my father did — in how PDF invests your dollars to end Parkinson's.
Richard Field, Board Member
I have a very personal stake in our mission to solve, treat and end Parkinson’s — I was diagnosed with the disease two years ago.
At the time, I was a busy professional and family man. I was used to managing complex programs within large corporations, yet I found managing Parkinson’s to be nothing short of daunting.
Luckily, I found PDF's educational programs and research updates. It was like having another doctor in the house, enabling me to better manage my disease and enjoy time with my children and grandchildren.
PDF knows we need solutions now, not only for ourselves, but for future generations. PDF gave me hope, and I want to give back so that our children and grandchildren do not face this disease.
Jean Dewdney, Member, James Parkinson Legacy Society
I cannot help but plan for the end of Parkinson's disease. After all, my family has experienced the struggle of Parkinson's disease for two generations now. Both my mother and my husband's brother lived with the disease for many years. Isn't two generations enough?
By making a planned gift to PDF, I am supporting their mission to end Parkinson's for the next generation, and to help families now through education and advocacy.
It's meaningful to know that my donation to PDF will live on and on for future generations. I know that one day, together, we'll meet PDF's goal of ending Parkinson's so the next generation does not experience the pain of this disease.
Howard Morgan, Chair, Board of Directors
My Dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in his mid 60s. He is pictured at left, joining me at a PDF event via video.
He was a proud man who only reluctantly accepted his diagnosis. He had just begun to fight back against PD with exercise when he died of another illness at 73.
My father’s fight and the struggle we are all a part of – whether it is your own diagnosis or that of a loved one or a friend – is personal.
Stephanie Goldman-Pittel, Board Member
My father Allan lives with Parkinson's. When we first learned of his diagnosis, our primary concern was finding him the best care.
My grandmother was a friend of Page Morton Black, who was Chairman of PDF until shortly before her death earlier this year. After learning of my father's diagnosis, Mrs. Black and PDF were incredibly helpful in getting us to the right doctors.
I cannot think of any other PD organization that follows through on its mission with such personal and caring action. And this is the same way PDF approaches its research programs and its goal of ending Parkinson's.
Much like you, my family and I would love nothing more than to see an end to this terrible disease.
Gregory H. Romero, Board Member
In the fall of 2003, my brother and I lost our father to parkinsonism. His disease had a tremendous impact on our family.
After our loss, we were determined that no other family would have to go through the difficult journey that we did – and, if they had to, that there would be resources and support available. So we became involved with PDF.
My family has learned that PDF shares our goals – PDF is at the forefront of funding research for a cure and devotes significant resources to improving the quality of life for those affected and their families.
Arlene Levine, Board Member
My mother lived with Parkinson's disease for many years. When my father died just a few years after her diagnosis, my mom and I became a team. I managed her care and stood by her side for ten years.
This experience taught me the very high cost of Parkinson's disease, and motivated me to help find a solution, so I joined PDF's Board.
I have since learned that PDF's mission to fund research is paramount. I learned from personal experience that the work PDF does to support people living with PD and their families through education and advocacy programs is critical.
Thomas Palizzi, Member, People with Parkinson's Advisory Council
I was diagnosed with PD more than five years ago. It hasn’t stopped me from doing the things I love, like snowboarding, cycling and traveling with my wife and children. And it hasn't stopped me from doing the things I need to do, professionally and socially.
But I know that so far, I am fortunate. Parkinson’s affects people in different ways and progresses at different rates.
PDF knows that time is of the essence for people with Parkinson’s. So PDF is funding researchers who are getting things done, who are taking unique approaches toward finding new treatments and hopefully one day, a cure.
That's why last year during the holidays, my family replaced our holiday gift exchange with a donation to PDF.