Parkinson’s Foundation launches Reach Further campaign today

The 24-hour event raises awareness and funds for disease research, expanding care

Lindsey Shapiro, PhD avatar

by Lindsey Shapiro, PhD |

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The Parkinson’s Foundation has launched a day of giving in an effort to encourage Parkinson’s disease awareness and raise funds to accelerate research and improve care for people living with the neurodegenerative disease.

The inaugural event, called A Day to Reach Further, is today, Sept. 19.

Lasting 24 hours, the effort will support the Foundation’s Reach Further campaign, which aims to raise $30 million over four years.  More than half of that amount — $15,646,904 — has already been raised in the past two years.

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“Having the entire Parkinson’s community participate in ‘A Day to Reach Further’ will make for an amazing collective effort toward making life better for people living with the disease and their loved ones,” John L. Lehr, Parkinson’s Foundation’s president and CEO, said in a press release.

Those who wish to support the campaign for today’s event can make a donation, start a Facebook fundraiser, or help spread the work on social media or in their community.

One-time or monthly donations of any amount can be made on the event webpage, and may be dedicated in honor or memory of someone. In thanks, supporters will receive a special invitation to future research webinars.

Rune Labs, developer of the StrivePD app, will match all of today’s gifts up to $10,000. The app, which was cleared for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last year, collects motor symptom data from Parkinson’s patients via an Apple Watch.

Parkinson’s disease is the fastest-growing neurological condition in the world, according to the Foundation. About 1.2 million people across the U.S. are expected to be living with the disease by 2030.

The Reach Further Campaign and today’s fundraising event support three main initiatives: advancing research, expanding clinical care networks, and growing community-based programs for Parkinson’s patients.

Accelerating treatment development

Of the $30 million goal, $20 million will go toward research efforts in Parkinson’s, particularly those that could accelerate treatment development.

This includes the PD GENEration study, which aims to provide free genetic testing and counseling for up to 15,000 Parkinson’s patients, an effort that also could help fast-track clinical trial enrollment. Early this year, the study was halfway to its goal and has enrolled more than 10,000 participants up to now.

Funding also will support the Parkinson’s Virtual Biotech, which invests in new therapeutic discoveries in collaboration with Parkinson’s U.K.

Another $5 million will go toward expanding the Foundation’s Global Care Network by 50%. This effort will focus on expanding to areas where little or no comprehensive care for Parkinson’s patients currently exists, particularly underserved or hard-to-reach communities.

Finally, $5 million will be put toward community programs to support patients and offer them resources related to things like mental health, caregiver support, newly-diagnosed resources, and others. The goal is to increase such programming by 30%.