In a word, momentum was the theme for the Parkinson’s Foundation in 2023. Thanks to the Parkinson’s community, especially our donors, we worked hard to make life better for people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) through advancing research and prioritizing access to care.
Here are 11 ways you helped us keep the momentum in 2023:
In July 2023, we published a study that found that only 50% of people with Parkinson’s saw a general neurologist. As a result of these findings, we are expanding disease-specific training to neurologists and other healthcare providers, and pursuing ways to improve access to care across all demographic and population groups.
2. Provided Genetic Testing and Counseling to 11,000 people with PD
In 2023, our global genetics study PD GENEration: Mapping The Future of Parkinson’s Disease reached the milestone of providing genetic testing and counseling to 11,000 people with Parkinson’s. PD GENEration test results empower people, help them work alongside their doctor to tailor PD treatment, and can match them to gene-specific clinical trials. Thus far, PD GENEration data shows that 12.7% of people with Parkinson’s have a genetic link to the disease — much higher than the originally believed 5-10%.
3. Designated 8 New Care Centers to Further Access to Care
To bring specialized Parkinson’s care to more people, we designate medical centers that know how to treat this complicated disease. In 2023, we designated eight new centers as part of our Global Care Network, with the first-ever designations in Wisconsin and Washington, and the country of Japan.
4. Continued Investment in Parkinson’s Virtual Biotech
The Parkinson’s Virtual Biotech, a partnership with the Parkinson’s UK, is currently funding 13 potential medications in development that either address PD symptoms or aim to slow, stop, or prevent the disease altogether. This initiative gets us closer to delivering life-changing treatments in years, not decades.
A Parkinson’s breakthrough can happen at any time, in any lab, which is why we directly fund scientists who are conducting innovative studies attacking Parkinson’s from every angle. In 2023, we awarded $2.8 million across 30 promising research grants.
Meet Jingxin Wang, PhD
2023 Bill and Amy Gurley Impact Awardee
Dr. Wang is exploring a new way to target the cause of PD by using RNA-degrading technology. His lab is working to prevent over-accumulation of alpha-synuclein (a protein) in the brain, hopefully paving the way to halt the development of the disease.
6. Partnered with first historically Black institution of medicine to become a PD GENEration research site
Ensuring diversity and inclusivity in Parkinson’s research is critical to accelerating breakthroughs toward a cure. In 2023, we partnered with Morehouse Healthcare to expand genetic research in the Black community, making Morehouse the first historically Black institution of medicine to become a PD GENEration research site.
We awarded nearly $1 million in community grants to PD programs across 35 states. From non-contact boxing classes to educational events and wellness programs, we have invested more than $10.4 million in 787 community-based programs since 2011.
Visit your local chapter’s webpage to find a program near you
You can also call our Helpline at 1-800-4PD-INFO (1-800-473-4636).
Even though 90,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s every year, most healthcare professionals — including nurses, pharmacists and general practitioners — do not receive in-depth PD care training. We added new accredited online courses to our Education Series for Community Providers, which are designed to improve treatment and outcomes for people with Parkinson’s.
We launched 50 new Spanish pages on Parkinson.org. From symptoms to managing PD, these pages are designed to reach the Spanish-speaking Parkinson’s community and connect them to key information and tools.
10. Raised $3.5 million through Parkinson’s Champions
Parkinson’s Champions are a dedicated group of people in the PD community who fundraise to help us fight Parkinson’s. Parkinson’s Champions do it all, they run in prestigious races, cycle for Parkinson’s Revolution, host Facebook fundraisers, and more. In 2023, Parkinson’s Champions raised $3.5 million to propel us towards a cure.
On April 11, the producing team behind the Broadway hit, A Beautiful Noise: The Neil Diamond Musical presented $500,000 to the Parkinson’s Foundation in honor of legendary singer, songwriter and performer Neil Diamond, who is living with Parkinson’s.
Every year, the top neurologists and Parkinson’s experts in the world attend renowned conferences to share new information about PD treatments and research. In 2023, the Parkinson’s Foundation shared numerous research and care findings at two premier conferences.
As much as we accomplished in 2023, we are committed to doing more for the PD community in 2024. Your continued support is the only way we can make that happen. Thank you.