Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Every Donation Makes A Difference

From Eddie Pelto, Director of Development

The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF) Parkinson’s Awareness Month Challenge was an incredible success. Throughout the month of April, we challenged our friends and supporters to help us raise $50,000 online, which would be matched by PDF’s Board of Directors for a total of $100,000 to fund a Parkinson's disease (PD) researcher. PDF beat this goal and raised nearly $70,000 from our supporters. With the match gift from our board, the total raised was nearly $120,000. One of the researchers supported with the proceeds from the challenge is Sonia George, Ph.D., from the University of Minnesota, who is studying The Role of Alpha-Synuclein in Parkinson’s Disease Dementia and Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB) in the hope that the results may suggest new therapeutic approaches for both PD and DLB.

Here are some interesting facts about this campaign:
  • 497 people contributed nearly $70,000

  • $138 was the average gift size, but...

  • ...in reality, the achievement was fueled in large part by the many donors who gave gifts of $5, $10 and $20.

This highlights the importance of small donations in funding research. Talk about fundraising often heaps praise and attention on “major donors.” While the support of these generous donors is invaluable, we cannot forget to thank the people who are contributing between $5 and $100, a group that this fiscal year, accounts for 65 percent of PDF’s donors and a total of $1.2 million in revenue!

This is not the only instance in which PDF has observed the importance of smaller donations. Through PDF’s grassroots fundraising program, PDF Champions, we have seen that when grassroots fundraisers successfully raise $5,000 or $10,000 for PDF by hosting their own events – their support almost always comes through multiple modest donations given by their own friends, family and business associates.

It’s clear from the Awareness Month Challenge and these other examples, that every contribution makes a difference and everyone can support Parkinson’s research. If you would like to play a part, one way to do so is by becoming a PDF Champion. Sign up and create a simple fundraising page on our website. You don’t need to run a race or throw a party. Some PDF Champions simply create a page in honor of a loved one, tell their friends they are raising funds to fight Parkinson’s disease and direct them to their personal web page.

To find out about other ways to support PDF, visit www.pdf.org/en/support_pdf.

Thank you for your support of PDF during April and throughout the entire year.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Notes from AAN 2010: Part II

From James Beck Ph.D., Director of Research Programs

As promised on Friday, here’s an additional update from last month’s American Academy of Neurology (AAN) annual meeting.

In addition to the study mentioned above, another interesting one - presented by Nasim R. Khadem and Melissa J. Nirenberg, M.D., Ph.D. – investigated the rates of pharmacy errors in Parkinson’s medications.

In this small, prospective study of 73 individuals, the investigators found that about ten percent of people with Parkinson's had the incorrect Parkinson's medication dispensed to them during a one-year period. Dr. Nirenberg alluded to this problem in her recent PD ExpertBriefing (and subsequent newsletter article (see page 4), but this is the first example of data to demonstrate the precise rate of these errors for people living with PD.

Of the other findings this study highlighted, two were noteworthy:

  • 50 percent of the prescriptions were made using computerized physician order entry system

  • Those individuals who noticed the change in their medication and questioned it still received the wrong information from their pharmacy
Since the effects of an incorrect dosage can be very debilitating, this study just emphasizes the need to be ever vigilant when you get your prescriptions refilled.

Have you had problems at the pharmacy? Please let us know about your experiences.